Overwhelmed

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

1 Peter 5:7


Ever since I had a stent placed near my heart back in 2013 I have not had a day go by (actually a night) without feeling anxious due to the damage to my heart that I literally feel when I lay down to go to sleep. Each night when I do I am made fully aware that I suffer from heart disease that cannot be reversed or repaired. I don’t like feeling anxious, I don’t want to be anxious and though I have tried praying it away, thinking happy thoughts to replace my anxious ones, years later I still have not gone 24 hours without feeling anxious.

I don’t share that with you out of a desire for you to pity me. I share it with those of you who can relate and think you are all alone as you battle your own anxieties and worries. Up to the point of having a stent placed in my body to keep the LAD artery from collapsing and killing me I only had what some might call a panic attack one other time in my entire life and that was back in 1984, a year after my wife and I were married and found out we were pregnant with our first child. We had just purchased our first house and I had taken a new job on top of all that. All these events combined my doctor said I was merely dealing with enough stress factors to give me a nervous breakdown or a heart attack. I guess my body chose the nervous breakdown to cope with the stress.

Holly Starr is a musical artist who came and led our church in a night of worship this past Wednesday night and as I sat and listened to her sing and share I felt the peace of God in such a fresh way. Holly took a break between songs and was sharing how she suffers from fear and anxiety in her own life from time to time. I could picture as she shared what she does in those moments when life just seems too much to bare. She said this, “When I can’t see God, I can step outside and look at creation and immediately I can see His fingerprints.” I could relate and is why I wanted to pass these words of wisdom along to you in case you ever find yourself in a corner so to speak and life just seems to overwhelm you.

Try this. Walk outside and look up, look around and you will see the finger prints of God. They are everywhere. Psalm 19:1-4 puts it like this, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.” For Holly and for me, and countless others the cure for our worry and anxious thoughts is not to focus on the size of our problems but rather to focus on the size of our God. God is big enough to handle all our fears. After all, the light and the dark are all the same to Him the Bible teaches us. Thank God sometimes seeing is believing as I look at creation and the stars in the heavens above and am overwhelmed by the enormity of God. Not only did God create everything, He holds it all together. God is in control and that’s comforting to know.

The very first time I felt panicked in my life I remember telling my wife I felt the need to run. It was about 2:00 a.m. in the morning when the panic had gripped my heart and I recall putting on my running clothes and heading out the door to run. I had no idea where I was running, I just had this overwhelming sense I needed to run, so run I did until I was too tired to run any more. I returned home and went back to bed knowing I could not afford to do this routine every night so I went to the doctor and sought help. That was many years ago. Now that I am older and can’t run any longer I instead run to God in prayer. I don’t hesitate to get up and walk outside and sense the presence of God all around me as I see His fingerprints everywhere. The Holy Spirit quickens the Word of God to my mind and in just a matter of seconds I can go from feeling overwhelmed to being over joyed. Only Jesus can do that.

Next time you get anxious or maybe the first time you ever do let me encourage you to run. Don’t run from God, run too God in prayer and if need be look or step outside into a clearing where you can see up and look around. If its night time look for the stars above and be reminded that God has hung each one there and He has numbered them and called them all by name. Allow the same thoughts that flooded King David’s mind begin to flood your own, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You” (Psalm 139:17-18).  
 
You are not alone, loved one, you are never alone. God is there! Here is something to take with you today. As the Bible teaches us, “think on these things.” Think about this today if and when you feel anxious, “God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart”― Charles Spurgeon.


Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Matthew 11:28-30


I LOVE YOU!

Michael Osthimer

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