Have you ever felt like there were too many things demanding your thought, emotion or time? We can be overwhelmed by too many things to do and too many demands competing with each other.
The demands of work, sickness, being around agitated and demanding people, demands from authorities, having to pick up someone else’s workload, and confronting new situations can all cause us to be overwhelmed.
But we can also be overwhelmed just by a storm of thought and emotion within us. Having to handle heavily emotional issues, feeling powerless, dealing with fears, rejection, hurts, abandonment, guilt or similar intense personal issues can drain our internal resources.
We are not without hope even in such intense situations. We are not the first to feel this way. People in the Bible and people great and small in every generation know what it is to feel powerless and overwhelmed.
King David, the mighty warrior, yet felt overcome at times.
“My spirit is overwhelmed within me; My heart within me is distressed.” Psalm 143:4
“My heart is stricken and withered like grass, So that I forget to eat my food.” Psalm 102:4
“Reproach and scorn has broken my heart, and I am overwhelmed: and I looked for sympathy, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” Psalm 69:20
The Prophet Jeremiah felt overwhelmed, yet not for his own problems, but for grief at what was going to happen to his people. He warned them to return to God but they would not. And, as a prophet, he knew the evil that was soon to come on them and it deeply grieved him.
“My heart is crushed because the daughter of my people is being crushed. I go about crying and grieving. I am overwhelmed with dismay.” Jeremiah 8:21
Jesus also faced the feeling of being overwhelmed, as He faced the sheer horror of crucifixion and His confrontation with satan, death and hell. On the night He was betrayed he went aside to pray an anguished prayer to God.
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Mark 14:34
So we can be overwhelmed for various reasons, including our own troubles, but also our grief for others. Many a parent has felt great pain and been overwhelmed with concern for a family member’s troubles.
So let’s see what wisdom God’s Word holds about facing such terrible situations.
The most important thing we can do is cry to the Lord and cast our cares onto Him.
“Lord, I cry to you from the end of the earth, whenever my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I am.” Psalm 61:2
That’s what Jesus did as He faced His anguish. He went to God in prayer.
God can give us peace in the face of extreme difficulties and challenges.
However, that doesn’t mean we will be immediately delivered. We may well feel pain and anguish until a situation is resolved. Sometimes we may feel we are constantly crying out to God, relying on His peace, moment by moment.
God promises that the season will pass. We may have to struggle through a difficult night, but joy will come.
“Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
“Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. He who goes out weeping, bearing the precious seed, will surely come again with shouts of joy, carrying sheaves of grain.” Psalm 126:5
God promises us joy in the end. This life and various circumstances may weigh heavily on us, but God will reward us with a joy that lasts forever.
“The ransomed of the Lord will return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy on their heads. They will receive joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah 35:10
We have the example of Job who endured terrible grief, but it was only for a season. In the end he was more abundantly blessed than he had been at the start.
If you are overwhelmed, call on the Lord, as David and Jesus did. Dump your anguish onto Him. Cry out to Him for deliverance, or at least His strength to endure this season of challenge.
And look forward to the promise of joy coming in the morning. And even if you have a life of challenge and grief, as Jeremiah, the ‘weeping prophet’ did, know that your reward of abundant joy is ahead for you.
I pray that each of you will be impressed with the goodness of God and with the sheer abundance of His promises and blessings for you, if ever you feel Overwhelmed.