September 23: God Rides on Wings of Love

Probably one of the most despised words of childhood is “wait.” Even if the word itself wasn’t used, the concept of “after your nap” or “in the morning” or “in two weeks” was all still wrapped up in “Not now. Wait.” Generally, waiting is something we learn to tolerate as we mature, but I’m not certain too many people ever really learn to enjoy waiting.

The foundation of the lyrics of this anthem can be summed up in the phrase “wait upon the Lord.” When things are beyond our control and exceed our power, all we can do is wait on the Lord. But the kind of waiting God has in mind isn’t the finger-tapping, impatient pacing, grumbling kind. In Scripture, “wait” has the context of “actively standing under.”

These lyrics remind me of the narrative of Jehoshaphat found in 2 Chronicles 20. He was facing overwhelming odds against the allied armies of his enemies. He found himself in the position that our song describes, when things weren’t right and his back was against the wall. He and his people were in distress, but God sent a prophet to encourage them and give them a message of hope: “The battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Sometimes it seems God brings us to places where the odds are overwhelmingly against us just so we can know our own powerlessness and learn His strength and love for us. When we’re first confronted by our enemy, what is our response? Do we rush around and try to fix it in our own strength? Do we marshal the forces of our trusted allies to come to our aid? Do we curl into a fetal position and close our eyes and hope it goes away? Do we run as fast as we can in the other direction? Or do we take it to the Lord?

Jehoshaphat had taken it to the Lord and the Lord gave him the plan. The plan was an interesting combination of waiting and action. The battle was the Lord’s, but Jehoshaphat was also supposed to go out to the battlefield, take up his position and stand. He was to wait to see what the Lord would do, but there was no passivity here. He was to go to battle.

We have to face our enemies or our fears, too. We can’t be in denial or play the victim. Jehoshaphat wasn’t to cower behind the walls; rather, he was to march out in full confidence that the Lord would fight for them.

The passage says Jehoshaphat sent the choir into battle as the front line—these guys were true Worship Warriors! We tend to underestimate the power of true, heartfelt worship. That the battle was the Lord’s indicated that there was a huge spiritual component to it. There may be no mightier weapon in spiritual battles than intentional, guided-missile kinds of praise. This praise displayed their faith that their loving God was indeed with them, and His power was greater than the power of the enemy. Praise in the midst of attack is a mighty demonstration of faith, and faith unleashes God’s power on our behalf.

Jehoshaphat was also told to take up his position. To me this speaks of prayer. Again, this is not a passive waiting. I think of Moses, Aaron, and Hur upon on the mountain in position overlooking the battle. As long as Moses held up his hands in prayer, the battle went for Israel, but when his strength failed, the enemies gained ground. Each of us has been given “positions.” These are people and ministries God has laid on our hearts and called us to cover. When we take up our position we keep them covered in prayer so they can prevail, but when we lose strength or get distracted, the battle can turn against them.

In addition, the prophet told them to stand. Ephesians 6:10-19 says a lot about standing in battle, and none of it is passive. And it is all presented in the context of prayer. Standing can be difficult if we really want to duck and cover or run in the other direction. But if we truly believe that the battle is the Lord’s, it will give us the courage to stand, trusting in the Lord’s power to deliver.

This song testifies that God is not limited to what we can imagine or the power we hold in our puny humanity. He has His own ways, His own timing, and His own power. The battle is His. When we face those times our backs are up against a wall, we need to take inventory and ask ourselves:

  1. Am I seeking God for His plan or working my own?
  2. Am I really listening to what He’s saying and willing to obey?
  3. Am I praising God in faith?
  4. Am I ready to face my enemy or face my fears, or am I in denial or fleeing?
  5. Have I taken up my position—battling it all in prayer?
  6. Am I standing, steadfast in faith?

No matter what we face, “We’re still in the palm of His hand”—His loving, powerful, capable hand—and “He’s still working His plan!”

by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries