When Life Overwhelms

I’ve felt a bit like my life has been on a roller coaster the last few months. You too? Things I feared, the what-ifs that haunted my thoughts in the early morning hours, many of them have become reality. COVID-19, social distancing, isolation, racism, riots.  I turn to the Bible for comfort. But I sometimes feel like the Bible can be confusing. I open to a passage like Psalm 91 and read about God being a shelter and a place to dwell safely. I read that God protects the Psalmist from the snare of the fowler and deadly pestilence.

I wonder how that applies to the problems I’m facing today. How exactly do I dwell in God? And a fowler’s snare, what is it and how will I recognize it?

I’m not alone in my confusion, a I friend recently told me about a website that has short 15 minute devotionals at www.mamasrefill.com. During COVID-19 Pam is offering the study of Psalm 91 for free. I found her lessons weren’t overwhelming, and in 30 days I learned not only what it means to dwell in the shadow of the Almighty, but also what a fowler is. (He’s a dude who hunts wild fowl in case you were wondering too).

I learned that Psalm 91 isn’t intended to offer a solution out of problems. Rather, it offers hope in the middle of mess. Hope because God is good, and He does good.

Here’s a Psalm 91 paraphrase.

When I choose to stop overthinking, worrying, and controlling I can abide in God’s truth. There I am safe. God is trustworthy, He is a fortress and a refuge. He is the real solution to all my problems. He will deliver me from those who try to trip me up or trap me, from those who sneak up and try to scare me.

He protects me like a mama hen, and under His wings I can find safety and protection. He fights for me, keeping me safe with either a shield or a buckler, the small shield for up close battle. I don’t need to fear the things that bump in the night:  nightmares, scary thoughts, worries of harm coming to those I love. I don’t need to worry about natural disasters, I don’t need to fear failing or making a wrong decision or not being enough. I don’t need to fear aging or loss of health. I don’t need to fear COVID-19.  

God knows what He is doing. He has a plan. Even though I see trouble all around me, I don’t need to fear because God protects me from danger, in danger, and by danger. How many times does harm bypass me unaware? In the middle of the trial God is with me, fighting for me. And then there’s the times an inconvenience protects me from worse pain. 1 I’m never alone. He will protect me from trials, during the hard times and then ultimately, I will be safe with Him throughout eternity.

God commands his angels to protect me and guard me. Just like they helped Jesus in the wilderness, they help me bear up, guard me and help me navigate around the things in life that threaten to snag me up. The things that are overwhelming and the things that are sneaking, I trample underfoot with God’s help.

I know who God is, He is good. He is sovereign.  I call to him.

He will deliver me
He will answer me
He will be with me in trouble
He will rescue me
He will honor me
He will satisfy me with long life
He will show me his salvation

What are you facing today? What would it look like if you didn’t have to go it alone? How can you look for hope in the middle of what you are facing instead of looking for a way out?

  1. Spurgeon, C H. “Psalm 91 by C. H. Spurgeon.” Blue Letter Bible, www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/tod/ps091.cfm?a=569010.


  1. Mary C Schurdell

    I say “amen” to this post.
    It really does feel like my life has been on a roller coaster since March of this year. I appreciate your encouraging words and your insight into God’s word. The paraphrase of Psalm 91 was such an encouragement to me. The verse that touched my heart in a very special way was “He protects me like a mama hen, and under his wings I can find safety and protection”.
    No matter what is going on in this world around me, God sees me, and he cares about me.

  2. I have seen so many people hurting, their plans overturned–big plans. My daughter’s college plans are on hold since her ACT test has been scheduled and canceled due to COVID 19 3 times. Someone I care for was supposed to take their citizenship exam and it was canceled due to Covid-19. All of my kids lost their jobs. My 16-year-old was scheduled for driving school and a licensing exam. It was canceled and we get to pay extra for an extension even though it was due to COVID 19. What is happening now not only in our state of Minnesota but around the country and even globally is beyond my comprehension. From top to bottom I am disappointed in my fellow man. But there are also beautiful God moments. As a grocery cashier, I have seen people buy carts full of groceries to donate to communities ravaged by looting and fires. I’ve seen people pay for the groceries of the person in from of or behind them. There is a man who buys the cashier’s chocolate bars every time he comes to the store. It seems like a little thing but it makes me cry because it is a thoughtful thing. Even id some of these people are not Christians, it is the Spirit of God that brings out this goodness. It is His Spirit that gives me peace at this difficult time. Your words of encouragement are so lovely and so needed at this time. You and your family remain in my prayers.

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