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When You Don’t Know What To Do

We’re all familiar with the common wisdom that doing something is better than doing nothing. I understand the sentiment. I’ve employed it many times. But we’ve all met these moments where nothing makes sense. All of the available options don’t seem like the right course of action. What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

In these moments, the only thing you shouldn’t do is take your eyes off of Jesus. It’s easy to engage in lots of navel-gazing when it’s unclear what to do. Instead of navel-gazing, do some Christ-gazing. In 2 Chronicles, Israel was surrounded by vast armies that outnumbered them, and the king, Jehoshaphat, knew that he had no options militarily. So he prayed, and this was the last thing he said in his prayer.

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
-2 Chronicles 20:12b (ESV)

I love the humility in this. Can you imagine the President of the United States addressing the nation in a moment of crisis and making this confession? It’s unheard of. The other common wisdom that says, “Never let them see you sweat,” didn’t seem to matter to Jehoshaphat. The king of Israel stood before his people and his God and confessed his utter inability to rescue the nation. He didn’t have a single option at his disposal that would change their fate. He wasn’t smart enough. He wasn’t strong enough. And he confessed this before everyone. That reminds me of another text.

Toward the scorners he is scornful,
but to the humble he gives favor.
– Proverbs 3:34 (ESV)

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
– 1 Peter 5:5b (ESV)

It might be that the thing that you should do when you don’t know what to do is humble yourself. We pride ourselves on having answers to problems. Have you ever been around someone who has an answer for everything? At times, they’re kind of annoying. They are eager to answer, sometimes jumping into conversations uninvited with their unsolicited advice.

I’ve learned that it’s ok to not know. You don’t have to be the most interesting person in the room. In fact, you learn quite a bit more about people by keeping silent and letting others do the talking.

But more to the point, Jehoshaphat told everyone he didn’t know, and he quickly turned to the one who had every answer. And here’s the craziest thing: Jehoshaphat didn’t know one hundred percent if the LORD would rescue them. Jehoshaphat was a righteous king, but whether the LORD would rescue Israel, he did not know yet. The first half of the verse revealed his uncertainty.

12 “O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us.”
– -2 Chronicles 20:12a (ESV)

Are you willing to humble yourself before the LORD in the face of uncertainty? Are you willing to admit that you don’t know what to do and wait for the LORD to do something? Are you willing to wait for Him, knowing full well you might not get the answer you hope for?

Jehoshaphat was willing. The really good news for Jehoshaphat was that the LORD did indeed deliver them from their enemies that day. I pray that you and I will have the same bold faith in Him whenever we don’t know what to do. Trust Jesus, even when we understand His answer may not be what we’re hoping for.

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Last modified: June 17, 2024
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