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What’s a Man to Do When he Doesn’t Know What to Do?

“There’s no hot water!” Steve’s wife yelled from the kitchen. “Oh, no.” He mumbled.

Fixing this problem wasn’t in the plans for the day, but a supply of hot water was definitely important. Steve’s first thought was to check the breaker to the hot water heater in hopes it would be as simple as a flick of a switch. It was on.

“Okay, check to see if perhaps the hot water heater needs to be reset.” was the next thought to cross his mind. Not the problem.

Experience told him that if all of those were non-issues, then it probably was a malfunctioning heater element. There were two. So he unscrewed the first one only to discover that it couldn’t be extracted because the double pronged, u-shaped element had expanded and the gap was larger than the extraction hole. How was he going to get that element out? He had no clue what to do?

Steve’s wife heard his responses to the discovery of the problem from the utility room all the way in the kitchen. “Guess we need to pray, Steve. Come on in, and let’s pray.”

Steve and his wife sat together in the living room for a moment of silence before his wife began, “Lord, please help, Steve, know what to do.” Short, simple, and to the point.

Initiating his worship, Steve, began, “Father, this situation belongs to you. I belong to you. My day belongs to you. This hot water heater is yours. You see the problem, and you are going to demonstrate the power of my relationship with you through Jesus in this situation. Thank you for making it possible for me to come to you with this problem that I don’t know what to do.”

As he was worshipping the Lord a tool came to mind that he had seen in his tool box earlier that morning. While looking for a wrench to unscrew the element he saw a strange looking tool that reminded him of a meat hook. He wondered why he had it, and what it was for. It was a rod about 6 inches long that hooked one end and had a handle on the other. All of a sudden he saw how to extract the heating element. He could poke the hooked end of the tool into the hole and hook the element, pulling it down to where the end fit in the hole and the element could then be extracted. It took less than a minute! Steve found out later that the tool had come with their trampoline and was used for extending the springs. Only the Lord knew that tool doubled as a heating element extractor.

Both Steve’s and his wife’s confidence in the Lord grew through the experience.

Although he didn’t know what to do, he knew he wasn’t alone. His confidence rested in the fact that God was with him and had made a way through his Son, Jesus Christ, so he could access him at any time in any situation and would receive grace in time of need. He applied what he had read in Hebrews 4:16. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”


Your confidence when you don’t know what to do

What does a man do when he doesn’t know what to do? Most men try to work it out on their own because their confidence is in themselves. A believer’s confidence rests in the fact that God is with him and will give him whatever grace he needs in any situation if he will draw near and worship. One of the reasons the book of Hebrews was written was to encourage believers to hold fast their confidence in the Lord’s presence with them and their access to the throne of grace in time of need. God has spoken to us in his son.

  • I know you are messed up.
  • I want to be with you and want you with me.
  • I have given my son to make that possible 24/7/365/lifetime.
  • You may enter this rest, and have confidence that I am with you and will give you what you need.
  • Draw near to me in worship when you don’t know what to do.


Your first step when you don’t know what to do: Stand on your confidence.

There are two options when things happen in our lives. Most people react. It’s a common, self-worshipping reaction when things don’t go our way or go as we expected. The second option is to engage God, enter into his presence, and worship, expecting him to give what you need in the moment. You’ll find God faithful when you make drawing near to him your first step when you don’t know what to do. You might say something like the following.

Father, I don’t know what to do so I’m coming to you in worship. I acknowledge that you are with me and I can come to you through what you did for me in your son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for forgiving my sins and making it possible for you to meet me here and give me what I need. I worship you. You have put this situation in my path and so I know you own this and have a good purpose in it.

Please give me insight and wisdom to know what to think, say, and do.


Your second step when you don’t know what to do: Wait confidently on God.

Once you have taken your stand in the presence of God and asked him for grace in time of need, then you actively, expectantly wait on him to give you what you need. The prophet Jeremiah declared this kind of confidence when he wrote the following in the midst of his affliction.

Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.

It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord (Lamentations 3:20-26).

The Scriptures remind us that those who actively, expectantly wait on the Lord will be strengthened and empowered. During the waiting time, your faith is built and when God delivers what you need, your confidence grows. At just the right time, God will lift you up by giving you what you need. The Apostle Peter put it this way in 1 Peter 5:6, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” The situation where you don’t know what to do portrays God’s mighty hand upon you. Therefore you humble yourself by standing firm on your confidence that God wants to be with you and has made a way for you to draw near and seek him for help. Then you wait on God to know the perfect timing, the proper time, to give you what you need. When is that proper time? It’s when you have practiced holding fast to your confidence and are waiting on him to give you what you need.


The third step when you don’t know what to do: Confirm action through Scripture.

After you have waited in his presence in worship for the time God knows is best, he will give you what you need. As in the Steve’s case, what came to mind was specific and practical. In relationships, God may give you wisdom to be silent, words of grace, specific action to be taken, or perhaps a vision of what God wants to do through the relationship/situation. How do you know if what comes to mind is from God?

The Scriptures have been given to us so we can confirm that what we are hearing in our minds is from God. You can see why it is important that you read the Scriptures  daily and fill your mind with God’s word. You can verify that your thoughts and ideas are consistent with the heart, will, and purposes of God. If you are not familiar with God’s Word, then ask someone who is. Perhaps a pastor, elder, parent, friend, or Bible study leader may be helpful. Confidence comes when we submit ourselves to God’s Word and to others who know and walk faithfully with him.


The fourth step when God has given you what you need: Thank him and do it.

Joyfully giving thanks to God for his faithfulness brings him glory. When we do what we believe God has given us to do, our worship in that situation is completed. In fact, we might think of our doing what God leads us to do as a show of thanksgiving. The writer of Hebrews pens, “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28). When we worship God in a situation where we don’t know what to do and he manifests his presence with us by giving us wisdom to know what to do, then we testify to the unshakable kingdom in which we live. That’s our confidence! We show this confidence by offering what he has given us to do as an act of worship before him. He gave us the wisdom to know what to do when we didn’t know what to do. Therefore he should get the glory and praise. We should be in awe that messed up as we are, God is with us and gives us the grace we need.

If you will practice the above when you don’t know what to do, you will discover God’s faithfulness in your life and grow in your confidence in life. Men, the people around you need you to be consistent, dependable, and wise. Let us not think that we must be what others expect and need us to be in our own strength. We don’t want others to think that we know what we are doing and are confident in our own strength and wisdom. Such an example only fosters self-confidence which is of no benefit in life. Instead, we should not be ashamed to admit that we don’t know what to do.

Furthermore, we can testify that although we don’t know what to do, we do know Someone who does. Let us be shining examples of how to live life confidently in Christ, as sons of God. Our Father in heaven has made a way through Jesus, his son, so we can live through him without fear. I hope you’ll practice drawing near to your Father in heaven through Jesus when you don’t know what to do.


Summary: When you don’t know what to do…

  • Stand on your confidence in God’s presence with you and ask him for help.
  • Actively, expectantly wait on the Lord to give you what you need.
  • Confirm what you hear through God’s Word.
  • Show your thanks by doing what God has given you to do.
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