Have you ever found yourself in a time of uncertainty? You know, that time when everything that you have done, the routine that you have kept, and the order by which you have lived your life has all been thrown out-of-whack.
Everyone will find themselves there at one point or another. Whether you are diagnosed with a health crisis that requires a complete alteration to your life’s schedule, an unexpected move thrusts you into a position of uncertainty and unfamiliarity, or life just suddenly changes due to circumstances that are out side of your control. What do you do?
Once you have determined that what you are facing is not a result of the chastisement or chastening hand of God on your life it is so important that you stay faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are under God’s chastening hand then may I encourage you to get right with the Lord and those who you have wronged.
However, there are times when things come your way that have nothing to do with chastening from our Lord. They are for building and equipping the saint for the task that God has ahead. Remember, not every trial is about you, and sometimes they are not for you specifically.
Many times our time of testing thrusts us into the spotlight for both the spiritual and the scorner to view and God illuminates your life so that others can either see Christ more clearly, or they see that the professed “Christian” was all talk and was quick to walk away when the times got tough.
I definitely do not know all the answers and find often that I have none, but God has them all! Listed below are five principles that my wife and I have practiced when we found ourselves not really knowing what to do.
- STAY FAITHFUL TO BIBLE READING AND PRAYER. The Bible is a “constant!” It never changes. Now man will change it (shame on us), but that does not negate the fact that God’s word never changes! John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It has oft been said that the Bible is God in book form. It is so sad when people simply read the Bible because they find themselves in trouble! Oh that we would read it before trouble ever arises. If we would stay in the book and walk with the Master daily there would be many believers still living for God today. Sadly however, there were believers who were unfaithful to the word of God and when a difficulty came into their life, and they were blindsided by the unexpected, they had not been faithful to read God’s message to mankind and were therefore unprepared for the unforeseen obstacle that now faced them.
- STAY FAITHFUL TO THE CHURCH HOUSE. Hebrews 10:25 is just as relevant today as it ever has been when it says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” The idea that because you are going through a “hard time” and need to be alone is a trick of the devil. The devil is very sly and knows that if he can get you all alone he can mess with your mind. Philippians 4:8 has been key to maintaining a spiritual and positive outlook on the difficult situations that have come throughout life – “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” You cannot help but to think on those things when you get to the church house too. So, get to the church house! During some of the darkest days of my life I have found that church house was a source of great strength and comfort.
- OBEY YOUR SPIRITUAL LEADER – YOUR PASTOR. In the midst of uncertainty be very selective who you listen to and from whom you seek counsel. There will come a time when your faith is waining and you feel like giving up and throwing in the towel! DON’T! This is one reason that you need to be under a godly Pastor! Just as I said before regarding the Bible – you do not want to be faced with having to find a pastor when you find yourself needing a pastor. NO! Find a Pastor before you “need” one! I understand that we always need to have a Pastor. Every believer does! Our Pastor is the under-shepherd and is a gift given to us by God. There are going to be times that your faith is very limited and weak, and you might have to lean on the faith of someone else. Hebrews 13:7 states, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” God blesses obedience! Obedience is a command of God in Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” During the times where we have not known what to do I can say that we have been quick to obey the man of God that He has placed in our lives.
- KEEP PRACTICING THE COMMANDS OF GOD. Keep tithing, going soul winning, reading your Bible and praying, spending time with family, bearing the fruits of the Spirit and the list goes on and on. Dr. Bob Hamblen (hero of the faith now with the Lord) made a statement that I never forgot. He said, “The greater will of God is found on the pathway of the general will of God.” What he was saying is that the Christian should do what he knows God has told him to do and down the road you will find that God has used you to accomplish things far greater than you could have ever imagined. James 4:17 is clear, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Stay the course friend! Do what you are supposed to do no matter what you are facing!
- DO NOT GET BITTER! The mind begins to race, wander and often spin out-of-control when you are trying to figure out the “why” of what you are facing. II Corinthians 10:5 is so helpful when the mind is racing and imaginations of doom hover over your thoughts – “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” It is imperative that we do not allow hurt to grow into bitterness. The Lord is clear that there is an anger than is not sinful in Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” I have always been taught that a “righteous” anger is a planned anger. However, I have also been taught that a spontaneous anger is an “unrighteous” anger. Now, there may be some wiggle-room in those definitions and I am well aware that those are very simple explanations to a very serious subject. So, to sum it up I would say that we should not let a person or circumstance have control enough to change our temperament to the point of anger. James 1:19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” The word bitterness that I speak of is defined in Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary as “extreme enmity; grudge; hatred; or rather an excessive degree or implacableness of passions and emotions; as the bitterness of anger.” Noah Webster references Ephesians 4:31, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and glamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  And be ye kind one to another,…” Everyone gets hurt, but a spiritual person must quickly learn the importance of yielding to the Spirit so that hurt does not grow into a bitterness. There is no room for bitterness in the Christian life.
As I close I would like to make it very clear that I am not an expert in “What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do” and this is not an exhaustive list. However, I do know that the five things that I have listed have proven true in my life and the lives of my family. Remember…
- There is NEVER a good reason to walk away from God.
- There is NEVER a good reason to be evil and vindictive!
- There is NEVER a good reason to not do what we know we are supposed to do!
Happily married to Sarah G, the father of three incredible children.