The Template of Trust
By Marlene Houk
The green plastic template teased me with its hidden meanings as I stared at the instructor. Its blank look and meaningless holes glared back at me, daring me to discover the mysteries of shaped holes and an unknown process. How could this inexpensive guide give me the power to make an A in my computer programming class?
I found a place for that valuable rectangle, secured inside my notebook and available at a moment’s notice. And I did get that A. The programming template I used decades ago reminds me that templates prove to be powerful tools to reach upwards towards something greater than our current position.
A template can be a concrete object made of wood, plastic, or metal that produces a practical tool for building projects such as a stencil, building marketable products. They can be a plan, process, or program to help others recognize a brand or product. Many software programs create templates that reduce the time needed to produce sales fliers, memes for social media, and email newsletters. Templates cross the broad spectrum of all layers of society, improving our lives.
My past and current use of templates remind me of the importance of choosing a spiritual template. My friend’s Christian counselor advised that she adopt a plan (a template) for coping and even emerging as a stronger Christian when life overwhelms her. His included templates found in the Bible that offer rich resources for handling the unknowns, for making decisions in uncertain times, for focusing on the Lord rather than the worry or fear, and for tracking God.
One of my favorite templates for surviving any crisis is tucked into 2 Chronicles 20:12 which says, “We have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” A great multitude of enemies was advancing toward the kingdom of Judah, and King Jehoshaphat reacted in fear: a normal reaction, to impending doom. But I love his template (both before and after his crisis) for transforming terror to trust. When he filled in the spaces with his needs, God empowered him to win over his most critical enemy: his own fear.
If you read chapters 19 and 20 of 2 Chronicles, you will see how the king used this powerful spiritual template to emerge victoriously. Through its use, God granted triumph to the king over his enemies. These two chapters reveal the king’s spiritual template:
- He took away the things that prevented him from seeking the Lord. (See 19:3)
- He prepared his heart to seek the LORD. (See 19:3)
- He set his spiritual house in order, commanding those under his authority and influence to focus on the LORD in their work. (See 19:6)
- Finally, the king gathered together the whole country to ask the LORD for help and to seek Him. He led this corporate gathering of prayers and reminded them and himself of God’s omnipotent power and might, His incredible ability to help them, and the sanctuary that they created to cry out to Him in time of need. He reminds himself of God’s larger template for the nation of Judah. (See 20:4-11)
- He admits his own insufficiency and commits to keeping his eyes upon the LORD. (See 20:12)
- He worships. (See 20:18)
- He appoints singers, specifically to praise the beauty of holiness and to praise the LORD for his mercy. (See 20:21)
And, that’s when the LORD moved in power and strength. He made Judah’s enemies turn on each other and kill themselves. King Jehoshaphat and his soldiers didn’t fight at all; they simply took the jewels and other treasures.
What is my template in times of trouble? I plan to use the same one that King Jehoshaphat and a host of other Bible heroes used. Filling in the designated spaces from his 7-step template with my unique situation, I rest assured that the Lord will bring victory over my enemies of worry and fear. And then I’ll watch as the Lord uses my completed template to unveil the beauty of His holiness!
Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at Bible167@gmail.com
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