When You Feel Overwhelmed

“You may say to yourselves, ‘These nations are stronger than we are.
How can we drive them out?’” (Deuteronomy 7:17).


I stood in line at one of our local supermarkets recently. At the checkout an elderly woman attempted to figure out how to work the card reader. She had pulled her ATM card out of her wallet, then inserted the card, as the cashier explained she needed to do. But the elderly customer felt overwhelmed by all the items she had to give attention to: What was her pin number? Was the amount correct? Did she want cash back? I could tell the technology made her feel flustered. She stood in front of the card reader not knowing what to do next. Thankfully, the cashier stepped in and helped this woman push the various buttons so she could finish her transaction and get out of the checkout line.

Have you felt overwhelmed recently? Perhaps you are feeling that way now. Lots of thing make us feel that way. Responsibilities. Stressful deadlines. Raising children. Making your marriage work. Facing a medical issue. Digging yourself out of a financial hole. Or even trying to live your life for Jesus. Sometimes, life just overwhelms us.

The people in the Bible verse at the top of this post felt overwhelmed, too. The Lord’s people had been delivered from slavery in Egypt. Now they were camped on the very edge of the borders of the land God had promised them.

Moses, their leader said to them (my paraphrase), “Folks, you’re about to go into the land. But I want you to know what you will encounter. You’ll see huge walled cities. You’ll meet some rough folks. You’ll come up against obstacles. And you will cry out, ‘The nations, these peoples, are bigger and strong than we are. How in the world will we ever drive these pagans out of our land?’”

God’s people felt overwhelmed by the challenge. What are we to do when life overwhelms us?

Don’t Allow Fear to Intimidate You
“Do not be afraid of them,” Moses said (verse 18). Do you understand what feelings of fear do to you? They paralyze you. You worry. Your stomach churns. You feel upset. You can’t sleep. You don’t have the energy to fight life’s problems anymore. What’s happened? Fear has you in its grips.

Here’s the truth for the times when fear intimidates you. No problem in life can overwhelm you when you are trusting the Lord. He is your security. Trust in God always brings courage. Always.

Look for the Miracle in Your Mess
Moses reminded the people of the miracles God had previously performed for them. “Remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and Egypt. You saw with your own eyes the miraculous signs and wonder, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm with which the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt” (verse 19).

God has always brought miracles out of messes. Think about Mary and Joseph, the earthly parents of Jesus. They had a marriage mess. Mary found herself expecting a baby, and she and Joseph weren’t married. And here’s Mary, most likely a young teenager at time, an adolescent girl from the backwoods of Nazareth.

Mary had to feel overwhelmed. Yet what was God doing in that messy situation? He was working a miracle. Mary would be giving birth to the Christ child, the Savior! The virgin birth of Jesus.

It’s hidden in your mess somewhere. “What is it” you ask? It’s the miracle God wants to perform. He works miracles in messy, overwhelming situations.

Practice the Spiritual Principle of Little by Little
Verse 22 might be some of the most practical advice ever given in Holy Scripture. “The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little.”

The people would ultimately prevail, but it would not happen as the result of one epic battle. Instead it would happen little by little. This is God’s advice for handling overwhelming situations.

Let’s say you have a huge task overwhelming you. Instead of viewing that task as a colossal obstacle, you mentally take it apart, break it down into smaller, doable parts. Then you tackle one piece at a time. Break down what overwhelms you into bite-size chunks, and then ask God to help you do only one chunk at a time.

What’s overwhelming you today? Follow the advice of these Scriptures for they are intended to give you hope amid the overwhelming.

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