12 Jun 2014

Because you cannot be overwhelmed ...a reminder of our power

I must have felt overwhelmed many times before in my life, but one time stands out in bold relief in my mind. There were many papers to be submitted, and I had chosen an ambitious project of finding out about the tiny Jewish community in Singapore and write up a research paper on it. I can still see that moment when my mind went into a whirl, I felt choked, and was completely sinking in worry, pretty sure I was not going to make it.

But I did. I breathed deep. I wrote a long list of what needed to be done. I prayed. I decided I would die trying. Then I got started.

Well, nearly thirty years later you would imagine I have had enough practice managing multiple responsibilities and some crises; so I should be this happy lark. This is the weird thing about life. It doesn't get easier - we don't get to be fully on top of everything, it just won't run like clockwork.

So we get overwhelmed - again.

There are two main reasons we feel the demands creeping up around us and we feel unable to tackle them to satisfaction. 

1. it is a particularly crazy season with simply too much going on.
This happens for example when there are plans and commitments and out of the blue there is also a crisis, or a sickness. This is why wisdom suggests we do not fill our days to the brim with plans. Buffers must be built-in.

2. you are actually hurt and in pain.
We all love to believe we are strong; and we are. But we do get hurt and suffer. In one sense, Christians who live with a longing for our true home carry about a pain and weariness because this world doesn't really suit us. But there are specific painful experiences; in fact, pain feels different to each one. Some painful situations don't resolve easily so we are actually living with a measure of pain all the time. This no doubt takes some of our capacity away. 

But even so, the pain is never the final word. Painless-ness is the final word, the apt description of where we are headed. So when we persist in pain, it is because we haven't given time to heal and found right resources for it, or we have forgetten Someone can take it all. We have forgotten to hand it over to Him. We have forgotten to take time for this all-important exchange, where we breathe in peace again.

This is the power I have: to gather up all that's a-tossed within my bosom and hand them over to the Prince of Peace. And how often do I need to do it? Very often. 

In the morning, I hand over what this day is about, how much I will accomplish.An hour later, I hand over my nagging concern about whether my kids are doing ok.By lunch, I have noticed that my heart is still heavy, so I take that to Him again.Evening comes and I find a clarity about my pain, I write briefly about where it comes from, and once again, He gladly took the list.

Often, as I hand it over, He hands me a little something that brings a smile to soul and face:
-notice that little bird nipping merrily among the leaves?
-an email that says "what you do matters, thank you"
-"my child, how can I deny myself and fail to be faithful?"

And then, last week, I learnt afresh about praying with authority. I felt my soul stir and my Father seemed to say, "there you go, forgetting again....". I blushed a little, but as I read, then said the words -- blood rushed within me like torrents of water coursing through the curves and edges within my soul, rushing from headwaters that have come unfrozen and is unleashing its force; His Life reviving within. 

Here is the prayer: 

“In the strong name of Jesus Christ I stand against the world, the flesh and the devil. I resist every force that would seek to distract me from my centre in God. I reject the distorted concepts and ideas that make sin plausible and desirable. I oppose every attempt to keep me from knowing full fellowship with God.

By the power of the Holy Spirit I speak directly to the thoughts, emotions and desires of my heart and command you to find your satisfaction in the infinite variety of God’s love rather than the bland diet of sin. I call upon the good, the true and the beautiful to rise up within me and the evil to subside. I ask for an increase in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

By the authority of almighty God, I tear down Satan’s strongholds in my life, in the lives of those I love, and in the society in which I live. I take unto myself the weapons of truth, righteousness, peace, salvation, the word of God and prayer. I command every evil influence to leave; you have no right here and I allow you no point of entry.

I ask for an increase of faith, hope, and love so that, by the power of God, I can be a light set on a hill, causing truth and justice to flourish.

These things I pray for the sake of him who loved me and gave himself for me.
 In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Perhaps this is a prayer you need now.

I still have years ahead of me. Moments of feeling like it is getting too much will surely come again. But - and who cannot help but laugh at this - our crazed upside-down reality that

WHILE we were sinners He died for us.
His Grace is made perfect IN our weakness.
WE ARE more than conquerors through Christ

All happening - God active in the present. Right now. 

So that every moment is shot with the possibility of changing the next.

So when we feel overwhelmed, we know we will not be- because we have this power to hand it over, and this authority to set it in the place it belongs: under His Feet.

So why not sing to it with this bunch:  More Than Conquerors sung by Rend Collective. {click}

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