Have you ever been overwhelmed? I know I sure have and especially in the last few days after several days of isolation. I have begun to get a healthy dose of cabin fever. When you get excited to go to the grocery store just to get out, it is kind of bad. I have been dealing with things the last few days that I have never experienced before in my life time. I had been going and doing and having full days of busyness. Now, I find my days being filled with a different set of things to fill my days. Today, I find myself identifying with David. In the verses we just read, David is crying out in great distress. He very well could have written this psalm as He was in exile or perhaps running for his life. From what I have studied on these two verses is that David cried out in prayer. He was loud and pouring out his heart to his God. I have had a few days where I have done the exact same thing. I poured my heart out to God and asked for help. I was overwhelmed and troubled. God was there in that moment and He is with me now just as He is with you too. So how can you and I move from the place of being overwhelmed to the place of victory with God. Let’s take a look at Psalm 102.
Do you see me? (Psalm 102:1-2)
I was watching the Andy Griffith show the other day and “Mountain Wedding” came on which is one of my favorite episodes. Earnest T. Bass was trying to get the attention of Charlene Darling Wash. His first act was to throw rocks through the windows. Then He decided to serenade her. So, He held up a lantern and held it close to his face and shouted, “Hey, look out here. Do you see me?” I know in my life I wonder if God really sees me where I am right in this moment. I can say with absolute certainty that He does. When I cry out to Him He sees me and asks me what do you need or want. When we are overwhelmed with everything that is going on in our life, God sees us! The first step the Psalmist took in this Psalm was in pouring his heart out to God. He uses the words afflicted and overwhelmed. David cried out with a loud voice. David wanted God to see where he was and the distress he was under. David entreats the Lord to not only see him but to hear him as well. David asks God to lean in (incline thine ear) to him and to answer right away. David was not guarded in his prayer, but had come to the point of getting real with God in a real way.
Please See What This Affliction is Doing. (Psalm 102:3-11)
The Psalmist was very specific with explaining to God what he was really feeling with very specific word pictures. v. 3, He speaks his days with one seeming to burn into another with no relief. Several times over the last few weeks, I have felt this way myself. I have had to ask Gordon, “what day is it?” One day seems to consume into the next with no end in sight. v.4, He speaks of being so dry and overwhelmed that he does not even want to eat. The problems of his life are such that no relief seems to be in sight, and in verse 5, he refers himself to feeling just like a bag of bones. No appetite, and so dry and in need. There have been times in my life when I have truly felt this way. So overwhelmed that the thought of eating just turned my stomach. While this has not happened often, I have been there. I don’t know what you are facing today. I do know that if you are relating to the psalmist here you are not alone which we will see in a few minutes. v. 6-7, He refers to himself to an animal that is not in his natural environment. We see pelicans at the beach, owls in the woods, and sparrows in houses or nesting for protection. Every area of the Psalmist life seems to be affected by what he was facing at the moment. He wanted to be completely and utterly open with God about what the affliction was doing to his mind and body. In your prayers are you specific with God about the details of how you really feel? Sometimes I think we try to “sugarcoat” things with God and only tell Him the things we think that He wants to hear from us. God wants us to be bold to come before Him with our hearts pouring out to Him. The Psalmist wraps up in v.10-11 that He feels beat up and so very dry. Then wonder of wonders we find the tone of this changes as we see God move him past the feelings and into praise of who God is and what He will do.
Praising the God of the Overwhelmed. (Psalm 102:12-18)
When was the last time you sat down, limited every distraction, and then took the time to think of as many ways that you could praise God.
God is Eternal. (v.12) A God who endures forever will not give up on me in my distress. He will always be there to encourage me and strengthen me for the days ahead. He remembers where I am at all times and will not abandon me or leave me alone where I am. Because God is Eternal, He will continue to do these things for all time. It is encouraging to know that God is always and will always be there.
God is Merciful. (v.13-16) I am so glad we serve a God who extends mercy to me. God’s glory is shown in His ability to show grace and mercy to me. So often, I am not worthy of the grace and mercy that He offers to me. Yet, That is the very definition of grace, unmerited favor. He gives us favor that we don’t deserve because of his love and because of Jesus Christ. Jesus took our place so we would be able to experience the grace and mercy God offers. It comes at a price that has already been paid. In v. 14 and 15, even those outside of God’s children will see the favor that God extends. It is a gift for all who will receive it. This becomes our testimony. I do not receive mercy because of me, but because of Jesus. In verse 16 we see the glory of God revealed. My husband several years ago found the parallel that whatever begins in grace will end in glory. God has given us grace to accept and then to glorify the Father for all He has done for us.
God answers prayer. (v. 17-18) God will hear the prayer of those who cry out to Him and He will indeed answer them. God will answer our prayers. Have you ever said to yourself, “I don’t know what God is doing in this situation, but I hope He’s doing something!” Believe me when I say, God is working! Sometimes I only see the trials and the dark places. The places may feel like they are closing in and around me and I am overcome with the gravity of them. I feel weighed down and sluggish as if I was wading through a bog. Even when I feel this way, God is there and He will answer my prayers. He will go with me through the trials and hard places and give me a firm foundation for my feet. I am not the first or the last to experience hard times. I can take comfort in the fact that as God was with those in the Old Testament God is with me too. All day, every day, God is there, and will answer when I call out to Him sincerely and with my whole heart. Because God answers prayers, I have another reason to praise Him I can praise Him for all He is to me!
The next time you feel overwhelmed run to your Heavenly Father. Let Him extend the grace and mercy to you that you need for the day. Pour out your heart to God and then praise Him for all He does for us every day. Rest in the presence of the God of the Overwhelmed.