“…keep watch with me.”


“Then Jesus said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me.’  Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed…”         (Matthew 26:38-39)

Ever have one of those days — weeks — months — years — one where everything seemed so overwhelming that you wanted to stay in the bed or go back to bed and just pull the covers up over your head?  (At least this guy in the picture could have gone back to his bed instead of mine).  Know what I mean?  Of course you do.  We’ve all had times in our lives when we’ve felt overwhelmed – maybe so overwhelmed that even the light at the end of the tunnel seemed too distant with just too many obstacles between us and the freedom of the tunnel entrance.  What we needed was the light for just the next step.

To be overwhelmed is to feel as though the future is just one big leap across the river with no stepping stones between you and the other side.  Lacking stones to make even the smallest step and progress, why bother to even try.  “You’ll never make it, no one could make such a leap across the entire river,” the overwhelmed mind tells it’s captive.  “Just go back to bed and pull the covers tighter around your head.”

There are many life experiences that can lead us to that trap of being overwhelmed.  Tragedies and crises can bring such intense sorrow and sadness that we may feel temporarily overwhelmed.  Illnesses like depression can also leave us feeling overwhelmed.  Sometimes when we’re not feeling overwhelmed it’s hard for us to imagine why folks look like they’re “giving up,” or “not trying.”  We see the stepping stones in the river, why don’t they see them?  The state of being overwhelmed robs the individual of the ability to take large challenges and break them into smaller, manageable pieces.  Life becomes all or nothing.  The river is too wide to jump, so why bother to try.

The Bible says that even Jesus became overwhelmed by sorrow as he contemplated the future hours of his life leading up to his death.  Yet he did two important things.  First, he asked his friends to help him, and second, he asked God to help him.  Often when we feel overwhelmed we need others to shine God’s light of hope so we can see just the next step.  We need help breaking down those seemingly impossible life moments into smaller manageable experiences.  Sometimes that help comes from friends and sometimes it also needs to come from professionals.  I pray that when I feel overwhelmed God will send me the light for the next step, and help me hold the light for others.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,                                                                                                        Gary                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church                                                                                                                                    Boaz, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

Check out my new video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on August 18, 2010.

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