In recent years, I have experienced several occasions when I felt completely overwhelmed with circumstances in my life. These were times when I would wake up in the morning wondering if it was all a bad dream, only to soon realize that this was my reality. During these times, I frequently referred to Psalm 61:2 which says, “When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” I found comfort knowing that God is with me during these difficult times.
However while recently reading this passage, I discovered so much more. I found it to be, not only a comforting passage, but one that gives very specific and practical ways to help us during hard times.
Consider the inspired advice offered within this passage:
- Pray (Psalm 61:1-2). There is nothing and no one who can help us through our troubles like the Lord. We are told that He faithful and that He is our Helper (1 Thessalonians 5:24, Psalm 121:1-8). God knows when our hearts are hurting and when we don’t know how we are going to get through this situation. Even better, He not only knows, but He has the ability to change the situation through His providential care. While He may not always make troubles go away, He promises to make all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28).
- Stay faithful to the Lord (Psalm 61:4). When struggling with life’s circumstances, many people withdraw from church friends and from attending church services. We may think it is easier to stay home than to see people who know what we are going through. We don’t want to be looked at with pity. We may be embarrassed and ashamed by our circumstances. We may dread questions from others. However, this Psalm advises us to “abide in Your tabernacle forever.” Don’t neglect your spiritual life and obligations. It may be hard to face others, but the worst thing we can do is neglect our relationship with the Lord and His people.
- Seek others who have experienced what you are going through (Psalm 61:5). It is a tremendous blessing to be a part of God’s family. As much as we feel like we’re the only ones going through this trial, we are not. There are other Christians who have experienced what we are going through. Not only can we benefit from other’s experiences, but we have an obligation to help others as well. We read in 2 Corinthians 1:4 that God will comfort us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort others in their affliction.
- Be thankful (Psalm 61:8). Even in the worst of times, we can and should count our blessings. As the songs says, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” We don’t deserve a single thing, but God has given to us over and over again. Thank Him and praise Him for the tremendous blessings He has given to us.
- Serve (Psalm 61:8). There is no better way to get out of yourself and your pain than to get busy serving others. We are told that good works are what we are created to do (Ephesians 2:10).
So what do we do when our hearts are overwhelmed? Read Psalm 61 and put God’s words into practice!