“…shall not overwhelm you…”


“When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

My week began with one of those family medical emergencies that elicits that “Whuuuuuuuuu,” sort of response.  You know what I mean.  You hear the sharp inward sucking of air passing through your lips and throat as your brain starts to play ninety million different scenarios about the possible future consequences of the emergency.  Then today, just as I got off the phone from hearing some good news about the situation I heard the sweet voice of my loving wife calling up from the basement (rather calmly, all things considered), “Dear, the basement is flooded.  The sump pump quit working.”  Once again I heard the, “Whuuuuuuuuu,” as I surveyed the extent of the water’s meanderings.

In both circumstances I thought of the photo above that I took a few years ago while we were visiting one of the Great Lakes.  Why?….. because in both situations this week I had to do the same thing as when I stood at the bottom of those stairs.  I had to remind myself several times to just take one step at a time.  Even though I knew I would have to go back up the steps in the photo as I descended them to get a great shot of the lighthouse on the cliff, the stairs were still daunting as I began to ascend.  “Just take it one step at a time,” I told myself.


Many times in my life I’ve found myself at the bottom of one of one of those flights of stairs, starting to feel overwhelmed as I contemplated the future.  It’s a tenuous position, because unless we’re able to shift that seemingly overwhelming flight of stairs into a simpler “one step at a time” scenario, we might not take even the first step.  Maybe it seems too simple…but it works.

It works for me because I feel the voice of God reminding me, “When you pass through the waters I will be with you…”  That too, may seem too simple, but it’s true.  God’s sustaining presence at the bottom of the stairs and through each step is what gives me the ability to coach myself with, “Just take it one step at a time.”  Ultimately, my anxiety is lowered, my anger is calmed, my frustration is abated, and my peace is restored.  I can get through, I can climb the stairs, I will not be overwhelmed.

I pray that God will help me take the next step.  How about you?

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

To see a sermon I recently preached at Mercy Street/Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, click on the link below:


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

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

~ by revgenelson on April 27, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: