Overwhelmed

One of my favorite places is a beautiful beach at Bandon on the central Oregon Coast.  It has a unique attraction:  Face Rock.  It is a natural rock formation that looks like a girl’s face, her head lying back in the sea and her face directed at the sky.  Many stories have been handed down by local tribes about this incredible rock.

The legend I prefer is about a beautiful princess who accompanied her father Chief Siskiyou to a meeting of great chiefs from the region. She had never seen the sea before and she was dazzled by its beauty. The son of the great chief Seekseekqua thought she was very beautiful but he knew she would have been warned to stay away from him because of his notorious reputation. He saw how the sea bedazzled her, so he did not try to speak to her, but instead waded into the sea. There he danced under the full moon in the waves, drawing her attention.  The white caps sparkled like jewels in the moonlight, and she could not resist his beckoning. She danced her way to him, frolicking in the waves where he took her hand. Every night during the meeting of the four chiefs, the prince and the princess danced and frolicked together in the sea. The princess fell in love with the prince. When it came time for her to return home with her father, she refused to go. She told him she wanted to stay with the prince. Her father beat his chest and let out a wail and told her there was no prince except his ghost that roamed the seashore at night. He had been slain by the great chiefs in the past because of his evil behavior. But because the princess loved the prince, she did not believe her father and refused to leave. The great chief’s wailing drove the prince away. The princess waited in the sea for him every night to return to her, lifting her face to the moon and crying out for it to send him to her.

She became so overwhelmed by her loss that she ceased to exist and instead turned to stone, forever part of the sea.

 

Of course, this story is not true, but perhaps you have been enticed into a life situation that turned out to be a great disappointment or terribly destructive. Or perhaps you have suffered a loss so great, whether a person, or a change in your circumstances, or even the loss of a dream, that you feel like you just want to lay down and cease to exist.  You feel overwhelmed to the point that you feel paralyzed and can’t, or don’t want to go on.

Jesus felt like that.

It’s true.

When Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane he became so overwhelmed that he said to Peter, “My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matthew 26:38)

Jesus did not exaggerate when he said that he experienced every emotion you will ever feel. He needed to show us that we can overcome because he overcame! Victory can be ours!

To feel something so deeply that you can be affected this dramatically is a good thing:  it means you have a soft and open heart that is able to receive all that God has for you, in contrast to a hardened heart that is unable to receive the gift of forgiveness, grace, and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The great news is this:  if your heart can be overwhelmed by grief to the point of destruction, then your heart is also capable of being overwhelmed by the joy and goodness of God.

How did Jesus get from being overwhelmed with grief to being overwhelmed with peace?

He prayed.

He told his Father God that he didn’t want to do what had to be done, but then he says what we always need to say to God when we feel overwhelmed:  “Nevertheless, may your Will be done.”

It’s perfectly okay to tell God what you don’t want to do or what you don’t want to face. He already knows your thoughts and feelings. But as you go to him in total honesty with a pure heart, and pray, “nevertheless, may your will be done in my life,” you will be overwhelmed with his presence and peace.

Jesus is awesome!

He is able to make good on his promises!

He wants to overwhelm us with his Father’s love, to lavish us with love!

Which do you prefer….to be overwhelmed by a sense of loss and foreboding, or to be overwhelmed by the all-consuming presence and power of God?

After one of the miracles Jesus did, Mark records this in chapter 7, verse 37: “People were overwhelmed with amazement. He has done everything well, they said. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute to speak.”

 

These lyrics to one of my favorite songs by Big Daddy Weave,  “Overwhelmed” always bless me. Meditate on them.

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I hear the sound of Your Voice
All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

I know the power of Your Cross
Forgiven and free forever You’ll be my God
And all that You’ve done is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

And God I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful
Oh God,…

 

Remember….when you are feeling overwhelmed in a defeated way, take that depth of emotion and give it to God, asking that His Will be done in your life, beginning right in this moment.

Change the energy of being negatively overwhelmed into the overwhelming healing presence and peace of God.

 

This is the end of a prayer psalm that I wrote, and that I often pray:

Overwhelm me with your presence, Lord.

Overtake my being and fill me to overflowing with You.

Overcome my frailties and replace them with the power of your Holy Spirit.

Overwhelm me with your presence, Lord.