Psalms 142:3, “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path...”(all scripture is KJV)
We’ve all probably been there. I started to title this piece “Underwhelmed.” That really is a word, and it’s a play on the word “overwhelmed,” which means to be loaded up with an excessive amount of anything—underwhelmed means to have no positive impact or impression on something. Also, to fail to interest or astonish.
Even lost folks who are good moral people cannot find anything positive that impacts their lives and gives them a reason for hope. Peter said in 1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give answer to every man that asketh a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Even in the most desperate times, when our soul is overwhelmed, we must realize God’s still on the throne, and everything’s still well in heaven. Nothing has happened that’ll delay his coming.
That is the hope that’s in us. When we accept and rely on that hope, instead of being so frightened and uncertain, these other things will become underwhelming. They'll fail to impact us in any significant way. When we rely on our hope, these things won't astonish us or make us fearful. They'll become par for the course, and we'll realize that, as Jesus said in Matthew 24:6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
Not only should we “be not troubled,” but we should be getting excited. In Luke 21, Jesus tells us the Jews will be killed and made captive “and trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” He mentions signs in the sun, moon, and stars; “and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.” Verse 26 says, “Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” That sounds like a dreadful time, doesn’t it?
It sounds like the current world we’re living in. Everything from all the signs, eclipses, comets, and meteor showers in the heavens to the distress of nations. Have you ever seen a time when the entire world was in so much turmoil? Not just the “wars and rumors of wars,” but the perplexity! That word is defined as uncertainty, confusion, or a tangled, involved, or confused condition or situation.
“Uncertainty” is the word that jumped out at me. People worry about the stock market, our southern border, immigration policies, living wages, and too many taxes. Mental and penal institutions are full of folks who just can’t deal with life anymore, and suicide rates are spiraling out of control.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the overall rate rose significantly between 2001 and 2021. You can view the stats by age, gender, and nationality on the following link Products - Data Briefs - Number 464 - April 2023 (cdc.gov). Of the nearly 48,000 suicides in 2021 (US News and World Report), almost 80%, over 38,000, were men (USA Today). Of the top 25 worst counties for mental health in the US, 13 are in West Virginia. There are five in Kentucky, four in Ohio, and one each in Virginia, Tennessee, and Indiana. People from all walks of life are overwhelmed and fearful and need to know about the hope in us.
Now for the good part. Jesus said in Luke 21:27-28, “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (28) And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” All those things that get us overwhelmed have already begun to come to pass. It’s time to look up! Don’t be so defeated, but lift your head because our redemption is getting closer. Our faith will soon become sight, and “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1) will appear right in front of us. We’ll soon see that first glimpse of the one who gives us that “peace which passeth all understanding.” That peace that “shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). That is the peace we can have now because of the hope in us.
The older I get, the fewer things overwhelm me and the more underwhelmed I become. I'm not astonished anymore because I know it's time to look up.
Prayer: Dear Father, help me to keep my eyes on heaven instead of the fearful things happening in the world. Show me how to live in victory, trusting that Your way and will is always best. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed and troubled by life and its circumstances? If so, why? What do you do to find hope and peace?