What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do

2 Chronicles 20:12: "O our God, wilt thou not judge them?
For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us;
neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee
"

Some years ago I read an advertising brochure for a well-known amusement park.
One statement in the brochure which is interesting reads, "… is the way you would like the rest of the world
to be all the time.
Sparkling clean. Adventurous – yet safe and comfortable, alive with people of all ages enjoying a good time.
Full of exciting things to do and see
."

That may be the way that amusement park is.
But it can be that way for only one reason – it isn't the real world.
It is a false, make-believe world.
The real world in which we live isn't like that at all.

The real world it's sometimes dirty, sometimes dangerous, often confusing, and always complicated.
Rather than being full of exciting things to do and see, it often demands difficult decisions from us.
There many times when we really don't know what to do.

This is a problem that faces all of us as Christians.

One of my seminary professors, Kenneth Chafin, wrote a book entitled "Help! I'm a Layman."
In that book he said, "Those of us in the evangelical tradition have been reluctant to apply our religion
in terms apart from the individual.
When vigorous decisions concerning war and peace or civil rights come up, someone usually plays the game
of upmanship by saying, "I think the only way to solve this problem is to get a man's heart right with God
…"

However, after a person has committed his life to Jesus, there are still so many things that he does not know.
He does not know what to do with the homeless, the poor, with the disenfranchised, with the immigrants,
with the drug addicts, with the law-breakers,and a host of other problems.

We are not the first to be faced with this problem.
During the reign of King Jehoshaphat in Judah, they were faced with an invasion by an allied army of the Moabites,
Ammonites, and the Edomites.
What were they to do?

That massive, allied army was greater than the fighting force they had, and they also had superior weapons.
You know what the king did?

He proclaimed a fast.
He gathered the people together for prayer.
In the language of the Bible, he "sought the Lord."

Before the assembly of the people, the king prayed..
The last statement in that prayer is a classic:
"O our God… we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon thee."

It turned out that was enough.
God delivered the people.
The invading armies started quarreling among themselves without the Judeans ever doing battle.

Do you ever have a time when you did not know what to do?
This prayer gives us some direction about what to do when we do not know what to do.

What to do when you don't know what to do:
We can evaluate our adversaries.

First, is our fear real or imagined?
It has been said that only 8% of our fears are legitimate.
That figure is reached in this manner:
20% of our fears are over past decisions that cannot be altered;
12% of our fears are over criticisms, most of which are untrue;
40% are over events that will never occur;
10% concerned our health.
10% are trivial.
So, only 8% of the fears that we face are legitimate.

So many of the things that we fear are not worthy of our fear.
There are imagined fears rather than real fears.

Secondly, a knowledge of what is happening will help.
Knowing what is happening may not enable you to change it, but it will allow you to be aware of it.

Two men were traveling at night across the plains of West Texas.
The driver was a native of that section, but his companion had grown up in the Rocky Mountains.
Suddenly, a moving form loomed on the highway in front of them.
Huge and rounded in shape, the brown object was headed toward a collision course with the car.
The driver disregarded the object, and kept driving the car straight down the highway.

But the man from the mountains yelled a warning, and lounged for the wheel trying to steer the car away
from the obstruction.
The Texan's experience led him to believe that the object in the highway was only a ball of tumbleweed
which would only be pushed aside by the car, harmlessly.

But the mountain man, with a different background was convinced that the car was about to collide
with a huge boulder.
A knowledge of what was happening surely helped the situation.

Jehoshaphat and his people took a realistic look at what was happening.
In appraising their adversaries, they had a real cause for concern.
And sometimes, you have cause for concern, but not every time.

Many times we have magnified our fears and blown-up our adversaries entirely out of proportion.
When you don't know what to do, this is the place to start.

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

You can analyze your resources.

After appraising their adversaries, they analyzed their resources.
They might not have superior troops.
They might not have better weapons.
But one thing they did have – they had God!

When attempting any kind of ministry, witness or service for God, it is useless to catalog what we do not have.
This is where so many of us put the major part of our concern.
We are quick to ascertain what we do not have to meet a situation, or to cope with a circumstance,
or to perform a ministry.

Moses did this when God called him from the burning bush to deliver the people of Israel from slavery.
Moses pointed out all that he did not have.
But God reminded him of what he did have – he had God!

At the funeral service of Louis XIV, King of France, the great cathedral was packed with mourners
from all walks of life who had come to pay tribute to their king.
To them he had been a great ruler.

The room was dark.
One lone candle illuminated the massive golden casket.
It had been lighted to symbolize the greatness of the king.

Massilion, the court preacher, stood to speak.
As he arose, he reached across the pulpit and snuffed out the candle.
From the darkness, he spoke just four words, "God only is great."

We may see that the only discernible resource that we have is God.
But God is great, and He is all that we need.

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

We can accept our deliverance.

In the early part of the 20th century, Sir Harry Lauder was a famous Scottish comedian.
He wrote many well-known Scottish ballads.
During World War I, he received word that his son had been killed in France.

He said: "In a time like this there are three courses open to a man.
He may give way to despair, sour upon the world and become a grouch.
He may endeavor to drown his sorrows in drink or by a life of waywardness and wickedness.
Or he may turn to God
."

Judah chose this course – to turn to God.
So should we.
We can turn to God, and receive His deliverance.
How do we do this?

First, we can turn to God in worship.
The king called the people to worship.
Worship helps us to get our life in perspective.
When we can see the face of God our troubles do not appear quite so large.
They went out singing.

Secondly, we can turn to God with a promise from God.
A promise from God is found in verses 15-17.
God has promised to help us in our times of trouble.
We can claim that promise that God gives to each one of us.

Thirdly, we can turn to God with confidence in God.
The Israelites were able to express a complete confidence in God.
With confidence in God, and in His Word, we can meet any crisis that comes our way.

Fourthly, we can turn to God with obedient dependence on God.
Often we do not know what to do because we are depending upon ourselves
to know what to do and how to do it.
These people expressed confidence in the promise they had received from God.
They depended on God to do it.
We can depend upon God in any crises of life.

How often does it happen to you – that you don't know what to do?
Anytime it does happen, we can remember the prayer of King Jehoshaphat, and make it our prayer:
"O our God, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon thee."

I can't promise a miracle.
But I can promise you the strength of God to give you guidance and help.

"O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Chorus:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O'er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu'rors we are!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!"
-- Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

This sermon was adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White