Archive for the ‘Patience’ Category

Overwhelmed?

Do you ever have moments when it seems as if your whole life has been turned upside down and you just don’t know if you can handle any more?  Sometimes life is overwhelming.

I recently found a garden snake in our elementary building. Considering that our students would be returning on Monday, I knew the snake had to be expelled from our school.  What seemed to be a fairly simple task became overwhelming when this harmless snake began trying to defend himself.  Although he was not venomous, he did a good job of convincing me that he wasn’t leaving without a fight.   I became overwhelmed by this aggressive little critter that repeatedly sprang at me the full length of his body.  I knew he wouldn’t hurt me, yet I just wasn’t sure I could even try anymore, so I finally called for help.  My husband came, made a quick capture, and calmed my racing heart.

Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the simple things in life which can be resolved easily, but often we are faced with moments which turn into days, months, or even years of being overwhelmed. Job demands, health issues, rebellious children, strained relationships, addictions, financial restraints, and so many other circumstances that may leave us feeling defeated.  Big or small, short-term or long-term, life is full of situations that stretch us emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

There are many examples in the Bible of people who were overwhelmed with their circumstances, from Martha who fretted over preparing a meal for Jesus to King David who feared for his life. So what can we do when life seems turned upside down for the moment, days, weeks, or even months and it feels like we just can’t handle any more?

Talk – We weren’t made to survive life alone.  After all, God made Eve because He saw that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone.  Find someone who you trust that has been through a similar experience.  Sometimes just talking helps us feel better.  Most importantly, talk to God.  James 5:13 says, “Is anyone among you suffering?  Then let him pray.”  In Psalms 61:2 David said, “I will cry to you when my heart is overwhelmed.”  God hears when we cry out to Him.  He can provide shelter, peace, and comfort.

Trust – Abraham was surely overwhelmed in Genesis 22:1-14 when his faith was tested, yet he trusted God.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who give me strength.” We may not understand why situations happen in our life, but we can trust God to give us strength to endure.

Tackle It – In Genesis 6:13-22, God called Noah to build an ark so large that God had to close the door.  What an overwhelming job he had!  He didn’t just sit back and hope God would take care of it for him.  Noah jumped in and tackled the task as God led.  Ephesians 6:10 reminds us to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”  You can’t do it on your own, but He will give you the power to get through those overwhelming situations.

Time – Joseph struggled for thirteen years before seeing God’s plan fulfilled.  As a child Joseph had a dream that he would become a ruler.  His brothers sold him into slavery, then he went to prison for a crime he did not commit.  Eventually, he became the most influential person in the world. (Genesis 37-41)  It took a lot of time, but Joseph did not give up and continued to be faithful.  We only see the current circumstances, but God sees our future.  Hebrews 13:5 says, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  Regardless of how long we are overwhelmed God will be there with us.

When life is overwhelming, and you feel like you just can’t take any more, remember to TALK to Him, TRUST Him, TACKLE IT with His strength, and allow TIME for God to work.  He loves you, and will see you through those moments when life seems turned upside down whether for the moment, days, weeks, months, or even years.

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And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.  Hebrews 6:25

We live in a fast-paced world with instant messaging, faxing, cell phones, fast food restaurants, and drive-thru windows.  Just about anything you need or want can be acquired much quicker than a few decades ago.  I especially enjoy drive-thru windows – fast food, the bank, the pharmacy, anything available.  The quicker I can get what I want and back on the road, the happier I am.  There are few things for which we must wait.  Patience is a virtue that many of us have forgotten.

“I will surely bless you and make your descendents as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17).  In Abraham’s mind, he knew he was very old, but in his heart and soul, he trusted God’s promise and continued to have faith.  Although he never saw the descendents as numerous as the stars, Abraham did receive the initial part of the promise, which was Isaac.  He did not realize the fullness of the promise, but he did receive a son through whom many descendents would follow.  Abraham never saw the promise completely fulfilled, but he did continue to live in faith until he died.  The remainder of God’s promise of descendents as numerous as the stars was not fulfilled until after Abraham’s death.

As we see with Abraham, God’s promises are not fulfilled at the drive-thru window, as we would prefer.  We must instead wait for God to fulfill His promises in His own time.  “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness (2 Peter 3:9).  Waiting is very difficult, and time seems to stand still.  However, compared to eternity, our lives are just a mere speck in time.  God knows what is best for us, and He knows the perfect moment.  “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalms 40:1).  Do not get discouraged and think that God will not come through.  Have the patience of Abraham, and you will be blessed.

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