When someone you love is going through a hard time, it doesn’t take very much effort to move into action for them! This is a call to contend for their faith and lend them our strength!
The truth is that we all have times when we have dealt with OVERWHELM, and will continue to occasionally as long as we are on this side of heaven.
I think for most of us, when we are stuck in that OVERWHELM there are so many things that can be going on inside of us. We can become subject to incapacitating emotional and/or mental stress.
Physically we may feel paralyzed; emotionally we may feel spent, frustrated, depressed, and unable to express ourselves; and mentally we may not be able to think with any clarity to make decisions. Sometimes when we are in the middle of OVERWHELM we may cry, scream, fight, throw things, hide, or feel like running away.
ANYTHING and EVERYTHING can feel like it is TOO MUCH to handle!
It may be that we do not understand what OVERWHELM truly is and don’t recognize it until we are wrecked by it (temporarily). But, if we are to OVERCOME overwhelm, we need to know the truth about what we are dealing with. So let’s start here!
There are eight passages in Scripture that have a phrase with or the word OVERWHELM in the NASB translation (5 in the Old Testament, 3 in the New Testament). I was surprised that every place I looked in those passages, even though there were different Hebrew or Greek words, they were all verbs. The word OVERWHELM is not a thing or a source in itself, it is a verb - an action that is exerted.
Overwhelm has a source, a point or a place at which it begins.
This source has a cause, a reason for an action or a condition.
That has an effect, the inevitable response that follows.
Psalm 55 has great insight to help us to know what to do when we start to feel overwhelmed! In verse 5, we read of King David expressing overwhelm.
“Fear and trembling come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me.”
The Hebrew word for the phrase “has overwhelmed” is kāsâ (pronounced: kaw-saw') and it is a verb. It means to “fill up” the hollows, to cover with horror, or conceal. Other meanings have to do with feeling abandoned, alone, isolated, attacked, and broken. This is how David was affected, it was his condition.
My question was, what is the source of David’s condition? We need to look back at verse 3 and we will be reminded that we are in a spiritual battle against a spiritual enemy that hates us:
“Because of the voice of the enemy (the adversary), because of the pressure of the wicked (the ungodly), for they bring down trouble upon me, and in anger they hold a grudge against me (what they do).”
David began to recognize and articulate the effect of this OVERWHELM in verse 2, and 4-5:
2 Give Your attention to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and severely distracted,
4 My heart is in anguish within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5 Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.
David expressed the causes of his condition. They are underlined above and defined below:
restless (wandering) severely distracted (greatly agitated, disquieted) in anguish (to twist or whirl) terrors of death (dread or fear of ruin, destruction, or death) Fear and trembling (fear, dread and shuddering) horror (trembling fearfulness)
Maybe you have felt like this at one time or another. Maybe you are dealing with this right now. Don’t give up!!! We will see how God impresses on King David’s heart the prescription for his action steps for the OVERWHELM that was enacted on him! We also see God’s promise in His response in verses 16-17, and 22 we have it:
16 As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me. 17 Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain (ponder and converse) and moan (cry aloud), And He will hear my voice.
22 Cast (fling) your burden (care and anxiety)upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Let’s be honest, the best place, the ONLY place to get true answers for life’s challenges and questions is in God’s word. It may take some searching and some study but is well worth it when we apply HIS truth to the challenges that overwhelm us.
Let me summarize this for both of us and give a prescription to help ease our symptoms and restore our peace:
What to do When We Feel Overwhelmed:
1. Recognize what it's symptoms are (restless, aimless wandering; distracted, agitated; in anguish, out of control, twisted or whirling, terror of death; fear or dread of ruin or destruction; shuddering, trembling, fearful)
2. Identify it’s source
(the voice/speech of the enemy/adversary; the pressure of the wicked, morally wrong, ungodly)
3. Act in faith on the prescription
A- Call upon God (ponder and converse with Him)
B- Moan (cry aloud to God)
C- Cast your burden upon the Lord (fling your care and anxiety upon Him)
4. Trust God’s Word and Promises
“The LORD will save you”
“He will hear your voice”
“He will sustain you”
“He will never allow the righteous to be shaken”
God’s prescription to OVERCOME overwhelm!
Take daily as needed with faith!