David’s Prescription for Overwhelmed Hearts

closed eyed man holding his face using both of his hands
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Have you ever come into the weekend feeling completely worn out? The problems and cares you faced during the week were so overwhelming that you just feel completely drained. You have a situation that you simply don’t have the answer to. What do you do in those times? How do you find the strength to keep going? How do you find some rest for your stressed out, exhausted, struggling soul?

King David knew the answer. I don’t mean that he knew the answer to your specific situation. David didn’t even know how to help himself! He was exhausted and overwhelmed like us; but David did know whom to go to when he was overwhelmed.

That’s where we find David in Psalm 61. He is completely overwhelmed and in over his head! We don’t know from what, exactly. Some commentators think that he wrote this Psalm after his son Absalom had deposed him and tried to kill him. Whether this is the case or not, David certainly had more than enough overwhelming situations in his life!

David’s response in Psalm 61 is a great template for us to follow. Notice the progression as David stops thinking about his own problems and focuses instead on God’s goodness.

Overwhelmed (Psalm 61: 1-2)

Hear my cry, O God;
attend unto my prayer,
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

David starts the Psalm completely overwhelmed. His mind and heart is on his own problems and troubles. All he can do is plead with God to hear him!

It is wonderful that David knew just where to go when he was in a situation he couldn’t handle. The answer to our problems doesn’t lie in family, self-effort, entertainment, or money. When you find yourself overwhelmed, do what David did, and go to the only One who can help.

Sheltered (Psalm 61: 3-4)

For thou hast been a shelter for me,
and a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever:
I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

As David turns to God for help, he ponders God’s past faithfulness to him. David recalls how God has often sheltered him in the past. He remembers how God has protected him from his enemies. As he considers that past protection, he is assured of God’s present help. He knows that just as God has protected him in the past, He will protect him in the present trouble as well. Therefore, David concludes that he will rest in the tabernacle (the place of worship) and under God’s protective wings.

Can you think of times when God has protected you in the past? Has God provided in your times of need before? Then you can be assured of His help in your present trials as well. As you consider God’s past goodness, your troubles won’t seem so large. You can rest in worship to God as you trust Him to take care of you.

Preserved (Psalm 61: 5-7)

For thou, O God, hast heard my vows:
thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.
Thou wilt prolong the king’s life:
and his years as many generations.
He shall abide before God for ever:
O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.

David’s confidence in God’s protection leads to a sense of hope and joy as he looks towards the future. How is that possible? How can David have hope for the future when his circumstances haven’t changed? Because he has stopped looking at his circumstances, and has started looking at his God.

When we look at our circumstances, things can seem hopeless. When we look to God, we can feel hope and safety no matter our situation.

Praising (Psalm 61: 8)

So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever,
that I may daily perform my vows.

While he started the Psalm overwhelmed and fearful, David ends in grateful praise and service to God. As he reflected on God’s goodness, he had to stop and praise God for all He had done. David’s fears melted away when he reflected on God’s greatness.

This is the solution for an overwhelmed heart: stop thinking on your troubles, and think instead on who your God is. Consider how He’s helped you in times past and take heart in knowing that He will help you today. Replace your worry with praise!

~FERGUSON

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