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Divine Silence? Our Feeling of Being Overwhelmed

Pastor Gregory Fryer has taken a tip from the Peanuts comic. Outside his church on the upper east side of New York City, every Tuesday morning he sets up a yellow booth like Lucy’s (“Psychiatric Help 5¢”) and offers prayers, Bible stories, and a listening ear for a nickel. He even has a plate of nickels available, just in case.

When we pray and it seems God is not listening, we can feel overwhelmed. At the start of Psalm 109, David was drowning in troubles (vv. 1–5). His response as a “man of prayer” was to call out to the Lord not to remain silent or passive. His enemies certainly had a lot to say as they “opened their mouths” against him. They were telling lies, speaking hatefully, and attacking for no reason. He had counted these people among his friends, but they had betrayed him and repaid evil for good. As David put it elsewhere, “Their throat is an open grave” (Ps. 5:9).

The psalmist called for God to help based on the glory of His name and His unfailing love (vv. 21, 26). His description of his psychological suffering is quite vivid (vv. 22–25). He feels “poor” and “needy.” His heart is “wounded.” Though he fasted and prayed extensively, the Lord has not answered and he feels invisible and weak. Is he nothing more than a passing “shadow” to God? An annoying “locust” to be shaken off? His enemies “shake their heads” in scorn. How pathetic!

Overwhelmed from within and without, stressed out and emotionally exhausted, David nonetheless continues to trust God to save him (vv. 26–31). His false friends need to learn that the Lord comes to the rescue of those who abide in Him. That’s the sort of God He is: “He stands at the right hand of the needy to save their lives from those who would condemn them” (v. 31).

Apply the Word

Our faith is founded upon the rock-solid character of God. To trust Him with our needs and anxieties is both a privilege and a necessity. Too often, we indulge in worry or try to take care of things ourselves. Today, prayerfully break that habit and instead “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7; cf. Ps. 55:22).

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer or editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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