Overwhelmed, Not Overcome
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate. ~Psalm 143:4
Psalm 143 was written by David when he was running either from Saul or from Absalom. It is one of several psalms that vividly describes David’s soul life when he was at a very dark and low spot in his life. Trials bring out the best or worst in us. They bring us closer to God or show how far away we are from God. They move us to pray or move us to be pragmatic. When we are in a severe trial, we feel overwhelmed. David was overwhelmed, but he was not overcome.
We see his misery.
David described to us, in no uncertain terms, the feeling of being overwhelmed. “The enemy hath persecuted my soul;” “he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness;” “my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land;” “my spirit faileth.” In v. 4, David said that he was overwhelmed in spirit. Being overwhelmed is when you are over your head in trouble. It is when what is happening to you is more than you feel you can handle. You are beaten down, broken, and bleeding out. David was scared, suffering, and sliding. He was miserable and overwhelmed.
We see his meditation.
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.” He meditated on all of God’s works and the work of His hands. I think this included God’s work of creation; God’s sovereignty in the universe; the development of life in the womb; and the majesty of God as seen in the oceans, the mighty rivers, the orbit of the planets, the mountains that reach into the sky, and the nature of animals. He remembered how God worked in his life when he was a boy caring for his father’s sheep in the hills of Bethlehem, when anointed as king, when victorious over Goliath and the Philistines, and previous times when God delivered him out of the hand of Saul. One of the ways we can overcome being overwhelmed is by remembering what God has done.
We see his motion.
“I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.” David went to prayer. The stretching forth of the hands is a beautiful symbol of coming boldly to the throne of grace for help in time of need. David prayed with fervency. David prayed in faith. David prayed for mercy. David prayed in desperation. David prayed in utter dependence upon God. David gave us a pattern for how to pray and move the hand of God to answer us. He came as a son asking his father for bread or a fish. He did not expect to receive a stone or a serpent. He knew that his heavenly Father gives good things to them that ask of Him. Prayer should be always be our first resort and not our last.
We see his meekness.
David submitted himself into God’s hands. He no longer took matters into his own hands but instead gave it all to the Lord. He asked the Lord to teach him to do the will of God. He was thankful for his trial and proclaimed that God’s spirit is good. He asked to be led into righteousness. He asked God to revive him spiritually. He boldly asked God to vindicate him and to deal justly with those who had made themselves his enemies. He asked God to quiet his soul so that he could hear Him more clearly. By having a spirit of meekness, he developed patience and endurance in his affliction. David was overwhelmed but not overcome. When you are overwhelmed, follow David’s example.
Have an overcoming God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 2 Thessalonians 1-3