“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” Psalm 94:19 (ESV)
We have all done this. We have all filled a mug brim-full with coffee or tea, and then tried to walk carefully to the table without spilling. We watch the liquid slosh as it threatens to spill with one small bump.
That’s me this year — the coffee mug, sloshing brim-full of emotions, always on the verge of spilling tears.
A heavy heart isn’t uncommon to the Christian faith, but what’s the difference between feeling deeply and feeling deeply overwhelmed?
There are seasons when our hearts are full. We carry with us the fresh death of a loved one, the surprising trials of a big move, the diagnosis of a disease or the prolonged wait for marriage, children or a promotion.
During these seasons, it’s important to remember that deep emotions are normal and have been felt by many of God’s people. Think of Job after losing his children, his home and his financial stability. Or Mary as she watched the final breath of her son on the cross. Even Jesus Himself was grieved to the “point of death” (Matthew 26:38, NIV) before the cross. God's people have always felt deep emotions in the midst of trials.
We see this truth in the words of the psalmist of Psalm 94:19: “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” Instead of feeling overwhelmed in the midst of his trials and emotions, the writer of this psalm invited God to engage in those emotions with him.
The word “consolation” means “a person or thing providing comfort to a person who has suffered.” As I walk through deep emotions, I’m learning that the words “I am overwhelmed” in my vocabulary can softly be replaced by a truer confession: “Father, I am not allowing Your comforts to unburden my heavy soul.”
Feeling deeply overwhelmed may be a signal, not that our trials are insignificant or that our emotions are too strong, but that we have been carrying them alone. God does not intend for us to let go of grief when a child dies, to ignore sorrow when someone sins or to brush away tears when we are hurting. Instead, God wants to be more engaged in our suffering and intends to breathe His comfort into our heavy hearts.
I’m learning to let my overwhelmed heart be a path toward confessing my lack of dependence on God. When my heart is full and I feel tears brimming from any small bump, I run to the Lord and confess I have been carrying my burdens alone, just as we’re instructed in 1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (NIV). As His children, we have full freedom to take every burden, small and large, to His feet, and He promises to carry us through it. I don’t know about you, but that makes this overwhelmed heart a bit lighter.
Father, thank You for being the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). There have been times when I haven’t depended on You like I so freely can, times when I haven’t allowed Your comfort to unburden my heavy heart. Please forgive me. Help me to remember that You see me, know me and love me better than anyone and that my life and all its cares matter deeply to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Romans 5:5, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (NIV)
Psalm 34:4, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (NIV)
Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (NIV)
When you feel exhausted from doing the next “right” thing but don’t see God moving and want to turn back. When you think God is holding out on you, and you want to give up. When you feel like you don’t know which way to go and want to walk away. God offers us a way when we don't know how we are going to make it through. Our next First 5 study is here: How Do I Get Through This? Pressing On When You Want To Turn Back, Give Up or Walk Away, An Exodus Study. Order your Study Guide today and join us April 5 in the First 5 app.
Today’s devotion author, Stephanie Tronson, is a member of COMPEL Training and one of the eight winners of the 2020 COMPEL Devotion Writing Challenge. Learn more about COMPEL Training, find encouragement and support in your writing journey, and how you can join, here!
REFLECT AND RESPOND
Do you ever feel like your only options are to feel numb or to feel overwhelmed? How can you share this fear with the Lord today?
What are some ways you can let the Lord enter into your suffering? Share with us in the comments!
© 2021 by Stephanie Tronson. All rights reserved.
What We Believe
If your life feels too overwhelming, click here for our care and counseling resources.