When You Don’t Know What To Do

arrowsAt one time or another we all go through circumstances where we don’t know what action we should take.  Have you been there?  Perhaps you’re struggling with overwhelming pressures and uncertainty right now.

I’ve been thinking about King Jehoshaphat.  He was a righteous king of Judea who was confronted by a huge coalition army of enemies.  He prayed and fasted and nothing happened.  Then, in 2 Chronicles 20:12, we see an amazing exchange between the king and THE King when Jehoshaphat prays,

“O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

I don’t know about you but I’ve been in a place where I’ve prayed this exact prayer.

“I am powerless before this set of circumstances in my life… and I just don’t know what to do.”

It could be our jobs, family problems, finances, health issues, or even death that seems to surround us on every side.  These problems look huge.  They look insurmountable.  And, we just don’t know what to do.

When we find ourselves in situations like these, it’s important to closely examine what Jehoshaphat prays.  First, let’s notice what he DOES NOT say.  He doesn’t ask God to bless his feeble attempts at solutions.  In fact, he tells the Lord that he can’t even think of how to solve the problem.  How many times have we decided on a course of action without asking for God’s direction and then pray for Him to bless our plans?

Look at what King Jehoshaphat DOES pray.  He asks God to intervene without trying to dictate any particulars… “Will you not judge them?”  Next, he’s honest with the Lord and admits he doesn’t have a solution… “We don’t know what to do.” Then, this overwhelmed leader prays the most significant phrase, “BUT our eyes are on You.”

What should we do when we don’t know what to do?  Look squarely to God almighty.  It reminds me of that old hymn.  “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strongly dim in the light of His glory and grace.”  So, when you’re surrounded and overwhelmed, LOOK TO GOD, IN CHRIST!

We should take a cue from Jehoshaphat.  He didn’t look to other people to fix his problems.  He didn’t look to his own labor or for “lucky” circumstances to work things out.  He didn’t even rely on his financial resources.  He knew the only person who could help was God Himself.

What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What To Do?

We can’t look to our own resources and strengths.  We look to the Lord.  HE IS GOD, we are NOT!  See how God answers Jehoshaphat’s prayer?

“…Listen…King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is NOT yours BUT GOD’S.”   2 Chronicles 20:15   (emphasis mine)

“You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf…’ DO NOT FEAR OR BE DISMAYED; tomorrow go out to face them, for THE LORD IS WITH YOU.”   2 Chronicles 20:17   (emphasis mine)

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “If I turn to the Lord and depend upon Him, is this a guarantee of success?  Will the situation always turn out the way I want?”  The answer is a resounding “No!”  We don’t know what plans God may have for us.  So a big question to ask ourselves is:  Are we willing to fail, are we willing to continue in hard times if that’s what God wants for us?  That is “turning your eyes to God” and putting Him totally in control.

When Jehoshaphat prayed his prayer he had no idea what God would do.  God could have allowed the surrounding enemies to have the victory.  We have other cases where men surrendered to whatever God might do, including allow them to fail miserably.

We see this attitude in Daniel 3:17-18 when three men were facing what seemed like certain death.  King Nebuchadnezzar had demanded that they worship his idol or die.  They refused and put their faith in God’s intervention into proper perspective.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “…Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. “BUT, EVEN IF HE DOES NOT let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”     (emphasis mine)

That’s trust, no matter what God wants to do.  He’s God, I’m not!

Job is another example.  When God allowed him to suffer for no apparent reason, Job had this same attitude,

“THOUGH HE SLAY ME, I WILL HOPE IN HIM. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.”    Job 13:15   (emphasis mine)

Job is determined to pray and “argue his case,” pleading to God for mercy.  But, if God doesn’t answer those prayers and even allows Job to die, he is surrendered to God’s will in the matter.

When you turn your eyes on Jesus and look to Him to give you victory over tough circumstances, do you tell the Lord that WHATEVER He wants to do is okay with you?  That’s surrender.  That’s allowing God to be God.  Then God can respond, “The battle is Mine, I will give the victory.”  THAT is exactly the thing to do when you don’t know what to do!

Think about it…



  • Great article Len. I really gained a lot from reading it. God bless!

  • Vivian says:

    Wow! Right on time God’s Word is constant, never failing like we are. Great analogies! To put full trust in God and say wherever you take me Lord is a dynamic place to be. Love your encouragement!

    • Len Allen says:

      Thanks for the comments. If all of us just spent our lives “looking to Jesus” what lives we’d live! Appreciate you taking the time to share.

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