How often have you simply been overwhelmed? We can be overwhelmed in many ways. There have been times when I was unable continue in my present emotional state. There have been times my physical body simply would not cooperate. There have been times I have felt that nobody is on my side. We ALL are sometimes overwhelmed. Sometimes this is a reality. Sometimes it is an emotional response to our reality or our perception of our reality. How can we go on when we seem to have absolutely no strength or resources?
2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (CSB)
8 We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed—beyond our strength—so that we even despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again
Life throws many things our way. Some of these things are good and some are bad. We must deal with them all, regardless. We are all overwhelmed when we face illness or adversity. While we do not get to choose most of what comes our way, we do have more than one option as to how we respond and how long we stay overwhelmed. Exiting the realm of “overwhelmdom” is not easy, however. How can we better survive these difficult life periods?
- We must realize we are not in a unique place. Everyone will face adversity. Everyone will experience seasons of being overwhelmed. It will occur more than once.
- We can sometimes affect the length of our adversity. One can, sometimes, remove themselves from the situation, although this is not always the right move. We must seek God on this point before acting.
- We can affect our emotional response. How? We can move forward to freedom by seeking Him and His presence. God wants us near and He wants to teach us. We often do not listen unless we are forced to do so. This can be the source of our feeling of being overwhelmed.
- Ultimately, what does this passage tell us? Paul was in a very bad place. Paul was despaired of life itself. What happened? God delivered. Paul then knows that he can trust God to deliver him the next time. Paul was delivered many times. We often don’t understand the valleys in which we find ourselves. Valleys are a means God uses to show us that He is faithful, that He can be trusted. We learn this from the roads life takes us down. There is no road, in this life, that does not include obstacles and opposition at some point. God can be trusted to walk with us and see us through. What is the key? We must do it in His strength. We must call on Him to carry us when we cannot carry ourselves. We must draw near rather than pull away. This is an act of trust. If done enough, we will discover the reality that there is really no other way. Walk in God’s strength alone.