For the overwhelmed

Psalm 43:5 “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

Aren’t you thankful for the Psalms that show the psalmists baring the pain of their souls?  These men of God had troubles, just like the rest of us, and they didn’t hide it from us.  Notice the words from Psalm 43 above. The psalmist talks about being “cast down” and “in turmoil.”  Listen to these words from Psalm 55:4-5 “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.”  Then this from Psalm 143:4 “My spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.” 

Have you ever felt this way?  Have you, even as a Christian who knows God’s Word extols us to “rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4),” found yourself feeling anything but joy?  Aren’t you thankful that the Bible doesn’t hide human pain?  It doesn’t speak to us as if we will always be on top of the world. True, it holds up the ideal of what God would have for us and what He wants for us, but then it allows us to see that many, even the inspired writers of the Word of God, didn’t walk through life “above the fray.”  They experienced trials. They faced great difficulties. They were the objects of attack by the enemy of our souls. Some, like Peter, were “sifted like wheat.”  Paul, such a giant of an apostle, had this to say about some of the trials he had faced:  “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).”

Life is hard, and the Bible is truthful about its sometimes unbearable and overwhelming trials.  It shows great and godly men and women bowing low under great burdens.  And then it tells us that Jesus himself is not one “Who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).” 

Do you hear that?  Anything you are feeling – any emotion – every overwhelming sense of foreboding – Jesus Himself, as well as so many of His strongest followers, have felt as well.  He doesn’t condemn us for this. Rather, he sympathizes with us – and He invites us to take it all to Him in prayer in these words from Hebrews 4:16: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Do you hear that, Christian?  His throne is a wonderful throne of grace for the believer, not one of condemnation.  He understands us. He loves us, and He will help us when we go to Him.  He will make a way for us to say with the psalmist above, who at that moment was in turmoil and despair: “I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.”

So, are you going through a great trial of your faith? Are you bowed down with a load of care?  Please know that our great God is Love. He’s the “Father of mercies and the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4),” and “as a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him (Psalm 103:13).”  Blessed be His glorious name!

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