“But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory…”
2 Chronicles 20:17 (NLT)
In high school I was a varsity cheerleader. For two athletic seasons per year, I stood on the sidelines of games, dressed in an outfit that donned my school colors and matched seven to nine other girls. We shouted chants, performed stunts, jumps and pyramids, all while our athletic teams battled against their opponents for a winning score. Some games were blow-outs, with our team racking up the scoreboard all night. Other nights, the score ended in our opponent’s favor and we left the game feeling a little less “proud” and definitely not victorious. Some games were hard to watch and definitely hard to cheer for. Those were the games where our players were making error upon error and didn’t seem to have their heads in the game. But nonetheless, when called to duty, a faithful cheerleader can find the perfect words to chant because her job is to cheer for her team no matter what.
Do you know what a cheerleader’s job is not? It’s not her job to step onto the court or the football field and play the game. When the team is getting pummeled by a bigger opponent, a cheerleader cannot come off the sidelines, shove her players aside and say, “You guys stink. Let me handle this. I’ll get us that victory!” A cheerleader is also not allowed to tell the coach what plays to calls. She isn’t allowed to boo her team either! Her only job is to work with her fellow cheerleaders to pump up the team and the crowd and especially to keep the crowd engaged when their team is losing the game. Winning the games is not the cheerleaders’ battle. Those battles belong to the ones actually playing the game. Praising her team no matter their effort is a cheerleader’s call of duty.
We face many battles in life. Battles in life are definitely not a game that most of us would ever volunteer to play. Some battles are meant for us to fight, others however, only God, Himself can fight for us. For example, in the early days of his childhood, my son struggled with chronic ear and sinus infections. I “fought” these battles by seeking medical treatment and following his doctor’s orders. I also “fought” by reading up on preventative measures and the effects of long term antibiotic usage. He underwent minor surgeries having tubes placed in his ears. He also endure allergy testing and allergy shots for seven years.
Yet, my son’s illnesses worsened. A common cold for his body always turned into croup. When this happened he would undergo breathing treatments using a nebulizer machine. This went on until he was of age to manage his breathing with inhalers. Did I mention, he received a life sentence of “asthma” from a pediatric pulmonologist when he was still in elementary school? This came after he had a full blown asthma attack that landed him in the emergency room receiving epineprhine treatment. Sitting by his bedside, I found myself trying to breathe for him. Every breath I felt entering and exiting my own lungs felt useless because no matter how hard I tried, I could not breathe for my own son. It was after his asthma diagnosis that I realized, my human efforts could not heal him. The war on his lungs was a battle only God could win.
For three months, I prayed over my son’s lungs. These prayers were neither prophetic nor extraordinarily powerful. I simply laid my hand on his chest at bedtime and said, “Dear God, please heal my son’s lungs.” If ever I forgot, my son would gently ask, “Mommy, please pray over my lungs.” and I would do so. At his next pulminologist appointment, the doctor stumbled over his words trying to explain the improvement in his lungs. I don’t remember much of what this doctor said except that he informed us we did not need to come back and see him anymore. This doctor couldn’t explain the difference, but as my son and I got into my car to travel home, I reminded him that we knew what the difference was. God had answered our prayers and healed my son’s lungs.
Fast forward ten plus years later. My children are now young adults and my family is once again under attack. I have spent the last four years fighting these battles in my own strength and under the power of my own human will. I have cried myself to sleep many nights. I’ve experienced full blown panic attacks and been hit with moments of unforgiving anger. In the fall of 2021, my prayer life went from superficial to super irreverant. I didn’t ask God for anything. I demanded He give my family justice all the while really hoping for revenge. As situations worsened, so did my prayer life. I pretended to cling to my faith, even professing that God was in control. But behind the scenes, I was telling God what to do, how to do it and when I expected Him to get it done. When He didn’t do it my way, I decided I had to do it for Him. I even listened to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (2007, AIOS Publishing) gaining much battle strategy to use against the enemies I believed were hurting my family. I lost sight of who are real enemy is.
Ironically, during this time period, I bought a decorative sign for a friend, who’s youngest child had just received a devastating health diagnosis and who’s husband had underwent major heart surgery a few short months later. The sign read, “The battle is not yours, it belongs to God.” I was so hell bent on healing my family my way, I couldn’t even hear God say, “that sign belongs in your house too!” God had to bring my life to a complete halt and walk me through months of isolation and pruning for me to finally be still enough, broken enough and seeking Him enough to hear Him tell me, “these battles are not yours, they belong to me.”
At first, I believed I could easily surrender it all to God, just like I surrendered my son’s asthma diagnosis to Him so many years earlier. However, surrender doesn’t come naturally. Every day I would say I am laying it all down, trusting God will deliver what He’s promised in His way and in His time. Every day I picked it right back up, wrestling with fear, doubt, insecurity, and even anger all over again. Every day, God has reminded me to lay it back down, for the battle is not mine. I can no more breathe for my son than I can redeem my family. Once again, I am walking through a battle that belongs only to God.
When God spoke to me about today’s post, He reminded me of my cheerleading days. I’m a self proclaimed control freak, but not once do I ever recall wanting to run out on the field during a football game, shove the wide receiver out of the way, take the ball from the quarterback and run down the field attempting to make the touchdown myself. I trusted the game to football coach and his players, while cheering them on from the sidelines. I believe God asked me today, “When are you going to let me do my job, trust me with your family and start cheering for Me?” WOW! After spending a weekend battling with angry prayers and doubting God’s promises, He woke me up with a reminder that this season of life, this war on my family, isn’t my fight. Even though I can’t see the battle field, He is fighting for us and instead of complaining and basically saying, “God, you stink!”, He’s asked me to get off the field, trust the game to Him and cheer Him on! In high school, no matter the score, we would yell, “V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! THAT’S THE VIKING BATTLE CRY!” Call it praise or worship if you want, but if God has sidelined you, He’s not placing you on the bench. He’s calling you to let Him fight this battle for you. Your job is to just be His cheerleader and yell, “V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! THAT’S MY GOD’S BATTLE CRY!”