Overwhelmed

Originally published December 1995.

While at our monthly networking meeting with the youthworkers, I became overwhelmed.Our entire agenda at these monthly meetings is prayer.No planning joint events, no swapping ideas.Just prayer.Not even random prayer.We have targets the schools and one school in particular.Since we’ve done this we have begun to hear reports of good changes at that one school including the principal leaving and the start of a weekly teacher prayer meeting.And the school superintendent has asked us to pray for some racial problems our schools are having.Just this man seeking prayer for help is a shocking thing.

However at this particular meeting, I became overwhelmed.The new principal at this one school appears to be a “liberal” educator.The teachers have reported four teacher assaults already—and it is only the first quarter.One of the youth workers is on a parent committee at his school fighting to stop another program that the principal is trying to push through—no matter what the parents are saying.Then the racial problems from one school seem to be spreading to other schools.I became overwhelmed.I know prayer is changing things but then there is this to pray for and that to pray for.I want it all to stop so I can have a reprieve “in the battle.”It can be overwhelming at times.

 

Overwhelming can also be looking at your youth and wondering if they will ever grow spiritually.Overwhelming can be looking at your desk and/or calendar and wondering if you are ever going to get through it.

In that prayer meeting, I was overwhelmed and looking for hope.I turned to the Word of God and found, “The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snare of death confronted me.In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him into His ears.”Psalm 18:4-6.

Here is hope.I was distressed.So in my distress I cried out to God and according to Scripture, my cry came before Him into His ears.Not to some eye in the sky who seems distant when things are overwhelming.My cry, my frustration, my lack of hope, my stress came before Him into His ears.

This reminds me of what a friend said to me recently.He is a relatively new believer and has been coming to my church.One Sunday while scanning the church family he said to me, “I would be sure that everyone in this room could handle whatever life throws at them because of their faith.”

What a simple insight into overwhelming situations that is also very true.Don’t you wish more Christians realized this?

One of the youth pastors at that prayer meeting had this word of knowledge—“Look at your problem in the light of God’s power.”Post that above that pile on your desk.

So there still are problems in the school system, calendars are too full, the pile on the desk is too high.But for a moment which has lasted, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.”Psalm 18:16.

Do you realize there are boundaries to your ministry?The boundaries are what is not in your mind.That would be torture for us to have God fill our minds with what is not for us to do.I’m not Pat Robertson.I don’t want a television network.Pat Robertson’s mind is consumed with his dream. I’m not Billy Graham with a burden to evangelize the world.His mind is consumed with his dream.The boundaries of my ministry are what consumes my mind.Your ministry has boundaries.Does that ease some of the overwhelming feelings?Is that comforting to know?Your ministry does have boundaries.

This is funny, kind of.Psalm18 first became lifeblood to me back when I was 19, new in the ministry and my overwhelming problem then was a broken relationship. God’s word is as uplifting today as it was then.I just wish my overwhelming situations were that simple.So much for wishing.He still hears my cries and reaches down to life me up.