December 20, 2010
When You Don't Know What to Do
"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."
2 Chronicles 20:12b (NIV)
5 a.m. Wide awake. Thoughts racing and whirling. Chest tight with anxiety.
My mom recently suffered a stroke, and my concern about her weighs heavily, causing my thoughts to spin. How long will Mom need to be in a rehab facility? How's my Dad holding up? Who will watch the boys when my husband's traveling for work and I need to be away to help my parents? We are in a situation we've never been in before, and we're finding that there are so many questions we can't answer.
There's a good chance you, too, are familiar with those middle of the night anxious thoughts and unanswered questions racing through your mind. Maybe your worry is about finances, a job or lack of one, a wayward child, a health challenge, marriage problems, or extended family problems. Or maybe your worries are not about big situations, but the accumulation of smaller challenges burdens your mind and heart. Your thoughts whirl as you wonder about the solution to your problems.
As I lay in bed that early morning, I remembered a familiar and favorite Bible verse: "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." I got up from bed, went downstairs, and opened my Bible to today's key verse which perfectly captured what I was feeling and thinking.
By reading the context of 2 Chronicles 20 we learn some key principles to follow in anxious situations. When King Jehoshaphat is told that "a great multitude" is coming to wage war against him, we see how just like us, the king is afraid (2 Chronicles 20:2, 3, NAS).
Instead of sinking in the quicksand of his own fearful thoughts or the inscrutability of the situation, King Jehoshaphat purposefully chooses to focus on the sovereignty of God. The king "turned his attention to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah" (v. 3).
Through prayer and fasting, the king and the people of Judah acknowledge what God has done in the past, and they voice their faith in what he will do in their future. They acknowledge they are powerless, but God is completely powerful.
In the same way through my mom's situation, I have seen how quickly my thoughts could turn to the problems I don't know how to solve. What will we do if she doesn't recover her ability to walk? What if she needs a nurse full-time?
I am learning, however, to turn from these thoughts by thanking my sovereign God for all the ways He has been faithful in the past and all the ways I see His faithfulness in the present circumstances. I am learning to ask Him for wisdom for every little detail. And I am setting my eyes on Him as I wait for His answers.
What problems in your life seem unsolvable or unanswerable? Follow King Jehoshaphat's example. Turn from your own anxious thoughts, acknowledge you don't have the answers, and set your eyes on the One who does.
Dear Lord, I praise You for being a sovereign God. You are in control. I don't have to be. When I don't know what to do, Lord, thank You that I can ask You for wisdom and guidance. You are my Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). I put in Your hands each of the concerns weighing on my heart and mind. Thank You that I can entrust them into Your loving care. I set my eyes on You, confident You will come to my rescue. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Melanie's blog, What Matters Most
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When You Don't Know What to Pray: How to Talk to God about Anything by Linda Evans Shepherd
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Write out and post today's key verse in various places around your house, car, and workplace. Commit it to memory.
Imagine that each one of your concerns is a single rock. For example, I imagined my worry about the quality of mom's nursing care was a rock. Next, imagine placing that rock in Jesus' open hands. Feel the weight of that specific burden lifted from your hand to Jesus' strong and compassionate hands. Feel the relief and whisper this prayer for each concern: Lord, thank You that I can trust You to carry this burden for me.
Share your burden with a friend. Confide in her and ask her to pray for you.
Read all of 2 Chronicles 20 for more help when you don't know what to do.
Am I trying to solve the problem myself or am I asking God for wisdom, help, and direction?
Are my eyes focused on the problem or on God?
Do I truly believe that God can take care of my situation?
2 Samuel 22:20, "He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." (NIV)
Isaiah 9:6b, "…And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (NLT)
© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 20 December 2010.