When You Don't Know What to Do

Several years ago I was laboring in prayer on behalf of someone I cared deeply about. He was in a dark place, and I was frightened for him. Circumstances beyond his control had sucked him into a vortex of physical, emotional, and spiritual turmoil, and there seemed to be no way out. 

I counseled. I encouraged. I did what I could to lighten his burden, but physical distance and finances prevented me from coming to the rescue. If I had been able, there was little I could have done. His troubles were too complex, and my power was too limited. 

One morning I sat before the Lord, feeling like King Jehoshaphat when he humbled himself before God and prayed, “Lord, we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chron. 20:12).

“Lord,” I prayed, “you know what he’s going through. You’ve allowed him to be in this place, but he is not hidden from your sight. I love him, but you love him more. Be his advocate. Be his strong defender. Guard his life, his health, and his sanity. Unravel the knots that bind him, and help him see the truth. Silence Satan’s lies. Help him realize that his hope is in you, and it is a sure hope. You will not forsake him. Protect him from harm, self-destructive thoughts or actions, and the tricks of the devil. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray, Amen.” 

I was reasonably certain nothing had changed in my loved one’s situation because of my fervent prayer, but I felt comforted. The weight I’d been carrying for him had been more than I could bear, but now it rested safely in the arms of Jesus. 

As was my custom, I followed my prayer time with Bible reading. I read through the Bible every year using the John MacArthur Daily Bible, so I opened my Bible to the reading for the day. When I reached the end of the selection, it was as if God shone a spotlight on the last verse in the passage. In my spirit, I knew God had given me a promise to cling to. 

I also sensed God was telling me that while the resolution to my loved one’s troubles would be slow in coming, a resolution would come. I accepted the promise with grateful tears, underlined the verse, and thanked the Lord. 

In the margin of my Bible I wrote, God’s promise to me for _________. Thank you, Lord. 

Today, years later, I read the same Bible passage. No spotlight shone, nor did I hear God’s voice whispering comfort and promise. Truth be told, I would have passed over the verse with little more than a cursory read were it not for the note I had scribbled in the margin. 

That note, and the accompanying underlined Scripture, reminded me that God had, indeed, kept the promise he had given me that day. Although it hadn’t happened immediately, he had faithfully worked in my loved one’s life, rescued him from the swirling forces that threatened to destroy him, and planted his feet on a firm foundation. He restored his joy and proved his faithfulness. 

If you're facing a situation where you don't know what to do, go to God. Tell him your fears. Ask him to work in ways only he can work. Then search his Word for an anchor to hold on to.

Not everyone feels comfortable writing in their Bibles, but today’s example is a wonderful reason to consider it. I don’t know what will be going on in my life next year at this time, but if I find myself laboring in fearful prayer for someone I love, my note will remind me of three things:

God speaks to his people through his Word. 

He hears and answers prayers. 

He takes delight in doing the impossible. 

Now it’s your turn. Do you write in your Bible? Why or why not? Can you think of a time when a note from the past strengthened or encouraged you? Leave a comment in the box below and share your story. If you’re reading by email, click here to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment.

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  1. I write and highlight in my Bible too. The paper it's printed on today is not sacred it is the message and inspired words of God that it holds that is sacred.

    1. Amen, Bubbles, you’re absolutely right. Write on!

  2. Yes, I write in my Bible. Sometimes I can't read it, but the verse seems to remind me why it is there. Thanks Lori. The article was exactly what I needed when I read the title. Remember you are blessed, highly favored and destined for greatness. There are 66 books with over 7000 promise that say so. !

    1. I’m so glad, Ray, that God used my simple words about his amazing Word to speak to you. And thank you for the blessing.

  3. I have always written in my bible.☺ Its interesting later when I'm rereading a chapter to see what was on my mind at that time. I often circle a verse or passage and write a name in the margin of whom I'm praying this over.


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