Do you use the expression “overwhelmed” much?
It is a good description of me most days around 3 P.M. when I stack my tasks left undone up against hours left to accomplish them and feel overwhelmed by a sense of defeat.
Or when I take a good hard look at all the hard bad news and I am overwhelmed by the evil and insanity of a world system gone haywire.
I can be overwhelmed sometimes by my own capacity to misunderstand people I love and to be unable to cope with life settings that others seem to sail through with not a glitch in sight.
And I am pretty sure that all of these bouts of being overwhelmed are NOT fruit of the abundant life promised.
So my ears have perked up lately at a phrase that either is in the lyrics of one of our new hymns, or was offered as a mediation by the worship leader one Sunday, or mentioned in a sermon a different Sunday or showed up in one of the gazillion devotions I have read in the past few weeks…or knowing God…showed up in several places as He is prone to repeat messages I need to hear until they finally sink in.
And, so like Him…it is simple and short and to the point so that I can actually remember it….
God overwhelms whatever it is that is overwhelming me.
Think about it.
Overwhelmed…I looked it up, of course….because that’s what I do.
And Webster’s gives the fullness of the feeling in the wording of its definition.
Even at it’s root in Middle English, the redundancy of meaning is clear…it comes from blending two words:
over + whelmen, to turn over, cover up…so basically to cover over, over something…to cover up over it…to overthrow, upset; cover over completely…submerge.
And the picture I get is the emotional and spiritual equivalent of playing in the surf and suddenly one of those breaker waves comes that knocks me off my feet. The surge not only covers me with water, but completely disorients me physically and emotionally.
Tossed and pulled, my nose is filled with burning salt water…my knees scrape across the rough sand as I try to gain my footing and as I fight to get upright so I can breathe oxygen instead of the sea, I flounder against the power that is greater than me.
And that’s how I feel when I am overwhelmed.
So whoever has played a part in giving me a new perspective, I thank you with a grateful heart for opening my spiritual eyes to yet another name for God…
The God who Overwhelms that which overwhelms me.
What a beautiful picture throughout the day when I am feeling submerged under some powerful force.
To lift my eyes above what I am “feeling” and to see that the circumstance or the habit, the sin or the sorrow, the angry shouts or the slanderous whispers…all of these that would threaten to submerge me in defeat…have been covered over completely by God.
To literally picture the “thing” that is pressing down on me being completely wiped out by the majesty and righteousness of God.
I don’t know what forces have power over you, but I pray today each of us will hold fast to the promise that there is nothing greater than our God.
I pray the only thing we feel overwhelmed by, submerged in, covered over-over with is His deep love for us…His mighty power at work in us…His Sovereign reign over us…His steadfastness holding us …wave after precious wave. All day long <3