Each month we send out a monthly newsletter talking–In Word & Deed– about the going ons in our church. On the front page of that newsletter is a column written by Pastor Don’s wife and office administrator, Kristi. Every month we will be posting her articles so everyone can read them.
Have you ever felt (been) overwhelmed by God? If we truly think about God and Who He is, we should be overwhelmed! I think there are different things about God that can overwhelm us and different ways in which we can be overwhelmed. We can be overwhelmed by Who God is, by how much bigger than us He is. We can be overwhelmed by the love of God, the mercy of God, the judgment of God, the knowledge of God, the holiness of God, the goodness of God, the creativity of God, the wisdom of God, the righteousness of God… – all kinds of things. We can be overwhelmed by peace and comfort, or we can be overwhelmed by grief, shame and fear. We can also be overwhelmed with gratitude or thankfulness or amazement.
I have been overwhelmed by God a few times in my life. The fact that God sees me and cares what happens to me, personally, can be overwhelming. There are a few times I remember specifically being “targeted” by God. One of those was over thirty years ago. I was collecting signatures at Northgate Mall to help get an initiative on the next ballot. It was an initiative dealing with abortion. As I was talking with a man about the initiative, I lied about my position. (I told myself it was just stretching the truth a bit, but, truly, I lied.) The wonderful lady collecting signatures with me didn’t let me get away with it. She asked me a few questions helping me see my lying ways and gave me a chance to come clean. I did not know her at all and she didn’t know me, but she knew God and listened to and obeyed Him. How embarrassing! How humiliating! What an absolute blessing! God used her to give me a chance to fess up, apologize to the man and get right with Him within a half hour of that lie! I felt the overwhelming heaviness of shame and embarrassment of blatantly offending God and a fellow Christian and I felt the overwhelming release and lightness of forgiveness once I confessed my sin. After all these years I have not forgotten that lesson.
About ten years ago, I was so busy with work and life that I was “losing it.” I was having a hard time emotionally as I tried to get everything done in the time I had. I felt crushed with the load of being a mom, a wife, a Pastor’s wife, a teacher, a women’s group leader, a friend, a room – parent, a children’s leader at BSF and a Cubbie leader here at church. My parents were having health issues and I needed to be available to go help out at their home. I didn’t see how I could keep going on, but I had to… I was talking about my frustration with JJ. She said, “You need to take a ‘mental health’ day. Stay home, by yourself. Everything that truly needs to be done will be there when you come back, but you will be different.’” I did. I spent the day sitting on my deck reading, praying and listening to some music. One of the songs was by a group I had listened to in High School. Interestingly enough, the song was called, Slow Down. It talks about being still and knowing God is God (Psalm 46:10). As I listened to that song, I felt overwhelmed with the love and comfort of God. It was as if a huge wave broke over me and swallowed me up. As tears streamed down my face, I felt the overwhelming presence of God as He enveloped me in His arms and surrounded me with His absolute peace. That was what I needed. I needed to know I am God’s child and He has me. Like a little lamb, my Shepherd is taking care of me and He can handle it. Relax and let Him.
This last week, I got to go with a friend and experience a live performance of Handel’s Messiah. She and I had sung much of it together, but I have only heard it performed a couple of times. Wow! Again, I was overwhelmed with the beauty and majesty of our God. The words and music took us from the beauty of creation to the ghastliness of sin and our role in the hideous death of Christ, through the wonder of our redemption and Jesus’ victory over sin and death to the unspeakable joy of an eternity with the Godhead in heaven. Amazing! Overwhelming! If “mere mortals” can conceive of and perform such gorgeous music, imagine what heaven will be like! I can hardly wait!
I hope this next year will bring more overwhelming moments with God for all of us. Please share some of yours with me, won’t you?