What to do when you don't know what to do

The Megiddo valley as seen from Mt. Carmel.  

The Megiddo valley as seen from Mt. Carmel.  

Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t know what to do? Where you were out of options and in between a hard spot and rock? I remember one time I was in a situation in which I didn’t know what to do. I was seven years old and living in Costa   Rica with my family. We went on a trip to the zoo and some how or another I became separated from the group and became lost. I remember the feeling of dread and terror. I didn’t know what to do. Long story short I was reunited with the rest of the family and we continued our trip. In our Christian walk we may sometimes come up on times and situations where we don’t know exactly what to do. Below are listed some things that we can continue to do even in these situations.

   First of all we must stay in God’s Word. It has been brought to us in our time and language by the grace of God and the courage of martyrs. Men in history have risked their lives to preserve and translate God’s Word. Furthermore the apostle Paul tells us that “All scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” The prophet Isaiah tells us that “the word of the Lord endures forever.” The Bible is God’s very words to us. We would do well to read and study it. Within it we may find the very light we need when we don’t know what else to do.

   Second of all we must continue to pray. Too often we forget that our privilege to pray to the Almighty God has been bought for us by the blood of Jesus. Paul teaches us in Hebrews that through Jesus’ sacrifice we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” But what if our situation is so dark and desperate and that we don’t know even how to pray? There is help for us even then. Once again Paul tells us that “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Prayer is a weapon we need to wield when we don’t know what to do.

   Third of all we need to rely on Christian friends. Proverbs tells us that “there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother” and “a friend loves at all times.” Ecclesiastes teaches us that “two are better than one” and “two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” There’s a reason God gave us brothers and sisters in Christ. Even the great apostle Paul valued friends. They helped him escape from Jerusalem by lowering him down the wall. He remembered Onesiphorus in his second letter to Timothy because Onesiphorus had found and helped him while he was in prison. In the same book Paul also mentions Luke who alone stuck with him in some of his darkest times. We would also do well to rely on friends when we don’t know what to do.

   Fourthly we need to worship God. This one may surprise you but think about it. When we put our thoughts and heart toward revering God our problems seem to shrink. And even when they don’t worship helps us realize how mighty God is and that He can handle our problems. One of the greatest examples of this is Job. He had the worst day of his life. First one messenger told him enemies had killed his servants and all his oxen and donkeys. While he was still speaking another one came and told him fire had fallen from above and killed more of his servants and all his sheep. If this wasn’t bad enough another messenger came and told him other enemies had stolen all his camels and killed even more of his servants. And then most terrible of all he was told that all his sons and daughters had died when a building collapsed on them. After all this some of the most profound verses in the Bible tells us that “Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” On the worst day of his life Job worshiped God. We would do well to do the same when we don’t know what to do.  

    Perhaps you are in a valley: a dark one where you can’t see the way and you need to know what to do. The above are things we can do to help us through those times. They aren’t magic. Just because we follow them doesn’t mean things will automatically become a bed of roses. But if we honestly want to pursue Jesus these things will help. They are a solid hold when everything else is quicksand; an anchor we can trust. We must remember that Jesus is the one who created our faith and He is the one who is going to finish it. We must keep our eyes on Him. So when you don’t know what to do read God’s Word, pray, rely on Christian friends, and worship God. Continue to do these things and God will show you the way.  

That Other’s May Live,

Joseph Schalchlin