It’s springtime—at least on the calendar—and that means weird weather. This last week has certainly showed us a little of everything—beautiful, warm days that give us hope that winter has finally lost its grip; snow flurries that say uh, not exactly. Nice breezes, gale-force winds. Drizzles, showers, downpours. Today we are supposed to go from a low of 27° to a high of 63°. Crazy.
Yesterday it seemed like Mother Nature could just not make up her mind. I had spent the night at my mother’s. When I left to run a few errands on my way home it was overcast and a few snow flurries were gently falling. When I came out of Walmart the snow had stopped but the wind was kicking up and it felt colder. By the time I got to Meijer’s it seemed to be clearing up and a beautiful rainbow hung in the sky. I came out of Meijer’s and it was overcast again. I was less than a mile from home, though, when I saw something I had never seen before.
The street was dry, but up ahead a few blocks there seemed to be something strange on the road. I peered through the windshield, trying to discern what I was seeing. A line of white appeared to be across the road, and as I drew closer to it, it seemed to be approaching me—fast. Above it was a wall of white. What is that? I wondered. The wall looked like maybe a cloud of fog hung right there on the road, but it was moving too quickly. That line of white on the street—could it be…?
I did not have long to wonder. Within a block or two I drove right through that wall and into a blizzard—and not just a blizzard, but a complete whiteout! One second it was clear and the road was dry, and the next I could not see the sides of the road or the cars around me. I felt like I had been suddenly swallowed up in the Twilight Zone.
Most blizzards begin with a few snowflakes, then a few more, and escalate into something big. This was first nothing and then BAM! I had crossed the line into the midst of that something big. I knew I only had about four blocks to go before I could turn off that street, and then another block and a half to get home. I proceeded cautiously. I could see headlights of oncoming cars coming out of the white as they got close, and fortunately I was able to pick out the traffic light just before I crossed under it. The building on the corner where I needed to turn loomed out of the murky white, and once I had made the turn and did not have the blizzard driven directly into my windshield, it was a little easier to navigate the rest of the way. By the time I got home two minutes later, the worst was over, and by the time Bob got the groceries into the house the whole storm was over. The blizzard had blown over almost as suddenly as it had appeared.
It took me a while, however, to shake that odd sensation that I had of feeling as if I had been swallowed up in that wall of white. I likened it in my mind to what one would feel if they were suddenly engulfed in a tidal wave, or had stepped blindly into a deep chasm. Overwhelmed.
Most of us have felt overwhelmed at one time or another. We try to juggle too many things, and we feel like we can handle it until one day—we can’t. Or the problems keep piling up—and piling up. Or just one big catastrophic calamity lands suddenly in our lap. Or we are sinking in a world of hurt. Whether everything has come crashing down around us, or we’ve been buried in stress, crushed beneath the weight of sudden disaster, or submerged in heartbreak, we are overwhelmed.
The Israelite army ran and hid, overwhelmed, when they were confronted with the Philestine giant named Goliath—until a shepherd boy came along, and with God at his side, slew the giant. (I Samuel 17) There is no Goliath too big for God.
King Jehoshaphat and all of Judah were overwhelmed when the great army of an alliance of nations marched against them until God told them “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (II Chronicles 20:15) Don’t worry! It’s not your battle, but Mine! There is no battle over which He cannot claim the victory.
When Elijah was so overwhelmed with depression that he wanted to die, God ministered to him through an angel. (I Kings 19) He provided for his physical needs—rest, food, comfort—and for his emotional needs as well, speaking to him to tell him of a helper and support—and hope. There is no need that He cannot fulfill.
The disciples were overcome with fear when a great storm suddenly threatened to sink them. When they woke Jesus, however, He calmed the storm with simply His words, “Peace, be still.”(Mark 4:36-41) There is no storm He cannot calm.
Noah and his family might have been engulfed in the Great Flood. (Genesis 6-9) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could have been consumed in the fiery furnace. (Daniel 3) But there is no fire or flood through which He does not carry His own.
The Scriptures contain many promises that bring comfort and peace and hope to us when we are overwhelmed. Here are just a few:
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:2)
The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything. but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:5-6)
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk They have secretly set a snare for me. (Psalm 142:6)
Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
There is none holy like the LORD: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. For there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. (1 Samuel 2:2)
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:5)
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
Do not be swallowed up—overwhelmed—by the cares of this world. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)