If I could use one word to describe most people I see today, it’s overwhelmed. We know what we mean when we use that word to describe our circumstance, but have you ever actually looked up the definition?
overwhelm | ˌōvərˈ(h)welm | – verb 1. bury or drown beneath a huge mass. 2. defeat completely. 3. give too much of a thing to (someone); inundate. 4. (usually be overwhelmed) have a strong emotional effect on. 5. be too strong for; overpower.
Sadly, these definitions often hit the nail on the head, and what comes next is a list of even worse words: quit, fail, depressed, anxiety, etc. We’ve all been there.
But, why is this the case when we know that this is true: “…for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4
There seems to be a missing piece of connective tissue between the truth of “greater is He who is in me” and the crushing weight that seems to be on top of me. Let’s hear from somebody who is in the same boat, our good friend the psalmist.
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.” – Psalm 34:17-20
Now there is a list of words that we would love to have as descriptors for our life: deliver, near, saves, keeps. Now we are talking!
The Psalmist finds himself in this place for three good reasons: “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord…”
- Righteous – Parents afford their children natural protection when they are obedient. If you’re in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing, there is very little chance you can get yourself in trouble. It’s the same with God’s children, and this behavior is called Righteousness. It’s true that we have the righteousness of Christ, but Paul would say, “Just because we have grace, should we go on sinning? Absolutely not!” Living a righteous life affords you certain protections.
- Cry For Help – Admitting you don’t have enough is the beginning of the road to recovery for the overwhelmed! To suffer in silence is to become bitter. To deny the reality of your circumstance is a form of self-induced insanity. To ignore the warning signs is to drive off a cliff, through the barricade. Cry out!
- The Lord – And, that cry needs to be to the Lord. Have you noticed that when you try to fix your overwhelming circumstances yourself, it often leads to one specific place… being even more overwhelmed. Check your logic here: I am at the breaking point, so, let me DO SOMETHING ELSE to fix it. I think we see the problem now.
When you are trying to live the righteous life and cry out to the Lord He may miraculously intervene, He may sovereignly guide you to make changes, He may do what only He can do.
The one thing we know for sure, being overwhelmed is real, and there is a real answer: Cry out to the Lord and then do what He says.