What to Do When There's Nothing You Can Do?
There is always something you can do.
By Ed Delph
March 30, 2020
That's quite an article title. I think maybe all those people who bought up all that toilet paper must have been thinking, "If I don't have any toilet paper, there's nothing I can do!" What did they do? Run off to Costco to stop the runs. But many discovered when they arrived that there was a toilet paper rapture, and the rolls were called up yonder—just saying.
You know, there are negative consequences to buying up all that toilet paper. Consider this Facebook post. "Just got gas for $1.47. I ain't gonna' tell you guys where. Cause I see what y'all did with the toilet paper." Speaking of grocery stores, have you seen the empty bread isles? Isn't it interesting how all those gluten allergies just straight up disappeared? Consider this: If you're staying inside, practicing social distancing, and cleaning yourself, congratulations, my friend, you've become a house cat.
Thanks for letting me have a bit of fun with you. We sure we could all use a smile right now. Many of you out there are stressed, and maybe feeling like there is nothing you can do. But even when you feel like there is nothing you can do, you can do something. That something is impressive, powerful, and quietly produces results when and where nothing else can or will.
In the times before Jesus started His ministry, the Jewish people in that time must have felt there's nothing they could do. The Romans are ruling, the taxes are high, we are weak, and our religion has been reduced to rules and regulations. Then Jesus comes along, just in time, to show them what to do when there's nothing you can do. And Jesus modeled it throughout his whole ministry. Let me explain.
It had to be mind-boggling to be one of the original disciples and under the leadership of Jesus. When Jesus taught, people were astounded. They began to understand the Word of God. Jesus was speaking to them, not at them, in a personal and compelling way. It was alive, crisp, clarion, transformational, and applicable.
Jesus' ministry was not in word only. It was in deeds, compassionate, wise, and mighty. Multitudes were healed, a significant need of that day. Thousands fed on nothing but a few loaves of bread and a few fish. The deaf began to hear, and the blind began to see in both the natural and a spiritual sense. Storms on big seas were calmed. Sins and sinners were forgiven, even in the act of sinning. The mental fog of who God is and what God wants lifted. The Word of God and the God of the Word became real, tangible, and lasting. It transformed people. It moved people from "No, we can't" to "Yes we can" to "Yes we will."
The disciples must have thought to themselves, how does He do that? Where does He get that power and wisdom? Where does He get that compassion and love?
After many a busy day, they watched Jesus go to a secluded place by Himself. Then He would return, and they would be off for another day full of wonders. In the evening, He would go back up into a secluded place. Then He would come back and off they would go.
"What is He doing up there?" Someone probably said, "Oh, He is praying." Then the penny dropped for the disciples. "Wow, He prays at night to God, then ministers in the morning. He's getting His orders from headquarters about the following day's activity. He's listening to God, not just petitioning God."
The Scriptures give us the disciple's response after they got this figured out. "And it came about that while He was praying in a certain place after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray...'" Luke 11:1. Aha! From prayer comes ministry, compassion, direction, and power. Their response was, "Lord, teach us to pray." In other words, we want Your kind of prayer for your kind of ministry.
The disciples knew about prayer. They had heard those long drawn out prayers in the synagogues they grew up in. They could have passed a university test about the theology and methodology of prayer. But then it dawned on them. Jesus' way of praying was different than the religious leaders of that time. Jesus was doing in the day what He heard the Father tell Him to do at night.
Many of you might be thinking, I've tried praying, and it didn't work. I prayed for something, and I didn't get it. Jesus prayed a whole different way than that. Jesus waited and listened for God's direction and instructions first, then He did what God just told him in prayer. Jesus waited for God's Kingdom to come and His will (God's will) to be done on earth as it is in heaven. His response to God was always, "Not My will, but thy will be done."
During this time, there is something you can do for our country and your situation. Listen! Pray as Jesus prayed. Pray for others. Pray for your city. Accessing God by prayer takes us to possibilities we could never get to on our own. Lord, teach us to pray for God's kingdom to come, and God's will be done regarding coronavirus, the economy, the government, employment, and your very own house.
You see, there is something you can do when you feel there's nothing you can do.
Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com