Thursday, January 13, 2005

When Your Heart is Overwhelmed

Hear my cry, O God;
  Attend to my prayer.
  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 61:1-2)
This is a psalm of David. He is far away from where he longs to be, even desperately needs to be. Physically, he is far away from home and the sanctuary, the house of prayer. But he is undeterred. Even from the edges and fringes of his existence he cries out to God, confident that he will be heard.

“When my heart is overwhelmed.” Covered over, weighed down, even incapacitated and unable to function. Some people find themselves overwhelmed and then capitulate. They say, “Well, under the circumstances …,” little realizing that they do not need to remain “under” the circumstances. God offers a powerful alternative.

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” This is a place of restoration, a place of going up, a place of rising above. A place of breakthrough to a level that is much higher than that which overwhelms him. But also a place David cannot get to by himself. So he calls on God to do what only God can do. “God, get me there.”
For You have been a shelter for me,
And a strong tower from the enemy. (v. 3)
David has history with God. God has delivered him in the past and brought him to security. Though David’s heart fluctuates, God does not change, so David casts himself onto God’s steadfastness.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. (v. 4)
When David finds that his heart is overwhelmed, he looks to his abiding place, the tabernacle of God. And though he is far away from the physical structure, he is not far away from God.

The Hebrew word for “shelter” in verse three means “refuge.” In verse 4, the word for “shelter” literally means “covering.” David is not speaking of a visitation, merely taking shelter from the storm. No, he has determined in his heart (“I will”) that he will look to God as his habitation — forever!

He does not want to be overwhelmed by the cares, anxieties and circumstances of the world. He wants to be always overshadowed by the covering of God’s wingspread. He wants to overwhelmed by the love and goodness of God.

When you find yourself overwhelmed, do not hesitate or delay. Immediately call out to the Lord and run to Him for refuge. Find in Him your permanent dwelling place. He will deliver you and cover you over with His protection, His provision and His grace.