It’s terrifying not knowing how to proceed, particularly when a lot is riding on the outcome. To be sure, there will be much suffering, and possibly even death, if change doesn’t happen. But in these moments in which we feel powerless, we can still pause, pray, and praise God.
This was the case, for example, when three different armies mobilized troops against King Jehoshaphat of Judah. He was terrified and didn’t know what to do. But he instructed his people to begin fasting as he stood before them and prayed to God for guidance. They then praised God for the splendor of his holiness and thanked him for his enduring love toward them. And a similar approach is helpful for us as well when we don’t know what to do.
For instance, perhaps we’re faced with troubling medical news, financial struggles, and relational problems. These might be separate challenges, or they might come all at once. Either way, there is a sense of being overwhelmed and at our wits end. It’s clear we don’t have the power or resources to fix this situation in our own strength.
And our first step in these moments is simply to pause – to stop striving and trying to control things with our own understanding. This frees us to return our gaze back to God rather than obsessing about the problem in front of us. And with our eyes fixed on God we cry out for his deliverance and presence – to come through on our behalf, or simply to be present with us, giving us peace to face whatever we must endure. The praise that follows is both a natural outcome of being in God’s presence and a discipline that reminds our hearts we can trust in his goodness.
We set ourselves up for even more heartache and pain when we rush ahead or turn to others besides God.
In the end, it’s okay not to know what to do when life overwhelms you and you’re terrified. Pause, pray, and give God the praise for his faithful love that endures forever.