January 27, 2020
Grace in the Overwhelm
SHALA W. GRAHAM
"So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)
It seems like I am always in a season of overwhelm.
I can be overwhelmed by family issues, work, school, finances and commitments, often all at the same time. What's hard is that these seasons seem unavoidable, and I'm left with little choice but to plow through if I hope to receive a harvest. But I've discovered a way to lean into grace in the midst of overwhelm.
When I read Psalm 142, I feel like David gets me. In this psalm, David was hiding in a cave from Saul and his army. He was overwhelmed, and he cried out to God: Lord, I'm tired! I've got to look out for traps because people are plotting against me, and no one has my back. I look to the right hoping to see a friendly face and hear a word of encouragement, but I am alone. There is no one to care for me. After feeling all of his feelings, he ultimately proclaims the Lord is his refuge and his portion.
In seasons of overwhelm, my sinful nature becomes evident. Everything is so cloudy that I can't see Jesus. I get impatient and snappy with family. I try to cut corners and slack on my responsibilities instead of doing what I said I would do because I feel justified by my excuses. I often walk out of step with the Holy Spirit. I am not loving, kind, gentle, self-controlled, peaceful, joyful, patient or faithful.
In times when I am broken down and tired like David, I need grace. I need to experience God's grace, be strengthened by God's grace, and be motivated by God's grace. But I have to go to the throne to get the grace!
"So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most" (Hebrews 4:14-16, NLT).
It's encouraging to me that Jesus can sympathize with my weaknesses. Jesus, too, is familiar with being broken down and tired. He knows how it feels to be tempted to sin, but didn't. As a result, I have a holy High Priest who beckons me near to the throne of grace despite the foolishness of my life. Because I am forgiven in Jesus, there is grace for me! I can go to God with full confidence that He will not condemn me for all the ways I feel like I failed in the midst of my overwhelm. There is grace upon grace waiting for me to receive it. And there is grace for you, too!
When I am overwhelmed, I will choose to boast about my God:
I feel overwhelmed and tired, but God is able!
I feel like I'm going to snap, but God rescues!
I feel like I'm out here in these streets all by myself, but God is my friend!
And suddenly, I go from being weak to being strong in the grace. I can resist the temptation to let the overwhelm of my life keep me from chasing after the heart of God.
Father, when I am in the midst of my overwhelm, help me remember that You see me and invite me into Your throne room to receive Your mercy and find Your grace to help me. Give me the courage and confidence to draw near to You, even when my instincts tell me to run and hide. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (ESV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What does your season of overwhelm look like? How can you receive God's grace in this season?
We don't need to see through the cloud of overwhelm in order to praise God. Write down two or three ways you will boast about God when you are overwhelmed, and share them with us in the comments!
© 2020 by Shala W. Graham. All rights reserved.