Ann Farabee: Overwhelmed
• Cancer • Sick • Too busy • Hurt by criticism • An inmate • Love an inmate • Stressful job • Feel inadequate • Discouraged • Marriage problems • Lengthy ‘to-do’ list • Grieving • Children are struggling • An addict • Love an addict • Can’t pay the bills • Depressed • Brokenhearted • Feel like a failure
Real people. Real problems. Real pain.These are samples of actual prayer requests I have received in the last few weeks.
We are often faced with overwhelming circumstances. Sometimes, our best just doesn’t seem to be enough. We begin to wonder if the light at the end of the tunnel has been cut off. Someone asks, “Are you okay?” Our minds scream, “No, help me!” but our mouths form the words, “Yes, I’m fine.”
The word ‘overwhelmed’ is a bit redundant. ‘Over’ can mean overwhelmed and ‘whelmed’ can mean overwhelmed. In that case, could overwhelmed mean ‘doubly’ overwhelmed? Yes, I think so, because that is how I have sometimes felt — buried, drowned, swamped, submerged, flooded, inundated x 2.
• Psalm 77:3 — I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained and my spirit was overwhelmed.
My God, I remember what You have done for me in the past. You sent grace, mercy, and love. But now? I need You more than ever. I hate to complain, but I am troubled. Why do I feel that my life and circumstances are out of control? My spirit is overwhelmed.
• Psalm 61:2 — From the end of the earth will I cry to thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Yes, Lord, I feel that I am in the most remote place on earth. So, I am crying out to You. My circumstance overwhelms me and overwhelms my heart.
Lord, I see YOU — up there! You are the ROCK! The summit seems inaccessible from down here — it seems like an ocean between us — and the pathway is so rocky and uneven. I’ll try, even though I am exhausted from my journey! Show me the way, Lord. Lead me through my raging sea of circumstance — move me above my circumstance — to the rock that is higher than I.
• Psalm 78:53 – And he led them on safely, so they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
Lord, You are leading me safely to higher ground — to the Rock. You say there is no need for fear, so I will not be afraid.
Really? You mean that my enemy will become overwhelmed by the sea instead of me? That sounds ‘doubly’ overwhelming — transferred from me being overwhelmed to making my enemy overwhelmed. Yes, my enemy — those things that have been controlling my thoughts, giving me doubts, and keeping my eyes off my Jesus. Lord, thank You for tossing my overwhelming enemy into the sea.
God may not remove our circumstance, but He has given us the Power to not only go through it, but to live ABOVE it. ‘Above’ means OVER IT – AND – NOT TOUCHING IT.
(That made me smile as I typed it.)
If you have read my previous columns, you may be aware that I am a teacher, so here is your homework:
• Grab a ‘permanent’ marker. Go outside. Pick out a special rock. Write on it: OVERWHELMED. Pray over that circumstance that is overwhelming you.
• Remember — You can’t. God can. Let Him.
• Then, draw an X totally across the word you just wrote — OVERWHELMED.
• Under it, write this new word: OVERCOMER.
• Yes, it is an OVERCOMER’S ROCK and…. we all know that OVERCOMERS ROCK!
Ann Farabee, writer, teacher, and speaker, has taught in Kannapolis City Schools and Mooresville Schools. Contact her at email@example.com or visit annfarabee.com
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