“From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
“Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of an “end of the earth” moment? I have, and I do more often than I like to admit. I am not referring to missed appointments, burnt dinner, or throw-up that needs to be cleaned up. I am talking about times when fear wraps peace-devouring tendrils around my heart, stealing the very breath from my lungs. Moments when I truly feel like and believe the “end” of something has come. So I brace myself as the world appears to unravel before my eyes, with all I love and hold dear seemingly doomed to destruction.
In those moments, to simply say “my heart is overwhelmed” seems like an insulting understatement because, what I feel and fear is a very real and present foe threatening to steal EVERYTHING I cherish. This lurking enemy takes no prisoners and shows no mercy. This foe wages a ruthless battle that saps every ounce of strength and threatens to steal every drop of peace and joy I possess. In fact, God likens our spiritual foe ,Satan, to a prowling and devouring predator. When David penned Psalm 61, chances are he was staring off in the distance at a very real, flesh and blood, prowling, devouring enemy intending to end his reign as King of Israel and take his life. Yet, when face to face with the enemy, David’s prayer often focused upon his own heart, not the physical enemy threatening to snuff out his life.
I find this observation both exciting and liberating. David was the master of asking questions. Statements like “why O God,” and “how long O Lord,” flow from his mouth without shame or hesitation. Sometimes the questions are directed to God, but other times they are directed toward himself. David may have felt bewildered by the circumstances he faced, but he was never so bewildered as to doubt the presence God. In the face of fear and uncertainty, David openly strove to reconcile the circumstances in which he found himself with the Nature and Name of the Lord who had made him a king and promised a kingdom without an end. David did not hesitate to plumb the depth of his own heart, ask God to reveal His heart, always asking God to remind him of His Steadfast love and faithfulness until he had the answers he needed! In Psalm 42:5 he repeatedly asks himself, “Why are you anxious and unsettled, oh my soul, what has stolen your peace?” He understands the answers for deliverance are often 1st found by exposing the sin and weakness of his heart. David also knew that the answers he sought were obtained when he asked the right questions.
Over the past few years, I have made it a habit to approach turmoil, anxiety, fear, and my “end of the earth moments” just as David did, with lots of questions for myself and then God. I have discovered that tuning my heart to seek and listen to the voice of the Great Comforter helps me to process, discern, and understand the truth and reality of the situation before me. This process helps to usher me into the presence of God with a soft and contrite heart. It is only in humility and weakness that our hearts are able to see and then willing to accept and cooperate with the Lord and His process of sanctification, transformation, and deliverance.
This week, my most recent end of the world moment came because of “Blue Doors.” I can’t go into detail, but “blue doors” triggered overwhelming anxiety and fear. My initial impulse was to fight the situation and demand from God and others steps that I felt would ensure my world remained unthreatened and safe. My desire to fight quickly transitioned into feelings of despair. Once the urge to fight had passed, I faced a new urge to give up and retreat. The desire to withdraw (flight) tempted me to push aside the onslaught of fear, scolding myself about how stupid the situation was. But at this moment, I knew running away and denying the issues at hand were just as destructive as recklessly going to battle in my own wisdom and strength. In my frustration, I cried out to the Lord. In my despair, I asked the Creator of my heart and the Redeemer of my soul a question. “Why do the “Blue doors” matter so much?” As Lisa Terkeurst eloquently puts it, “God and I went a few rounds,” and in the end, He was the undisputed winner of the bout. God answered this plea and many more after it. Some of the questions I grappled with in the ring tumbled from my lips. But other questions, the ones that lay at the heart of my anxiety and fear, flowed from the lips of the Savior. He used the Holy Spirit to pierce, divide asunder, discern and reveal to me the true thoughts and intentions of my heart. Before long, I wasn’t asking the Lord to take care of my “blue door” circumstance because He had taken care of what truly needed care, my heart.
If you find yourself struggling with your own “Blue Door” scenario today, consider David’s prayer and battle plan. The progression of Psalm 61 is a beautiful picture of how to process sorrow, grief, anxiety, and fear. It is a battle plan that helps us rise above our circumstances, draw near to God, and find peace.
“From the end of the earth I cry to you.”
When overwhelmed with fear and anxiety over the prospect of what we feel is assured loss, destruction, and sorrow, cry out to God!
Cling to the truth that no matter where you are, God is present, can hear your cry, and stands ready to deliver.
Our End of earth moments often not the end, but actually moments that usher us to the border of our Heavenly Kingdom, inviting us into the sweet presence of our King, Redeemer, Savior, and Father.
“When My heart is overwhelmed….”
Understand our “Blue Door” situations might overwhelm us, but they are never too complicated, never too messy, and never too hard for God.
Lean into God and cooperate with the process. All things flow through His Sovereign hands and will be used to draw us close and refine our heart. The key to peace and the solution to our “Blue Door” moments are found by submitting our heart to God for Spiritual surgery.
In humility, ask the Holy Spirit to plumb your heart, piercing, dividing, and exposing the things that He desires to purge, cutaway, and transform… so there is room to accept and embrace His Grace and purpose for the trials at hand.
“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
David realizes he is not positioned where he needs to be. David has taken up residence (emotionally, spiritually, mentally)at the edge of a cliff. He is surrounded by a hopeless situation and life looks bleak. His has yielded to the feelings that doom is assured and eminent. His heart is bewildered, terrified, and “overwhelmed.” How could anyone ever expect to escape the anxiety and fear of horrible circumstances when willingly camped in the midst of calamity and surrounded by hopelesness on every side?
David cries out to God, offering up a prayer that I believe is both a confession and a plea. He acknowledges where he stands and asks for God to move him emotionally, mentally, and spiritually to where he needs to be. If I were to pray this same prayer, it would sound something like this.
Father, “Blue Doors” have knocked me to my knees and robbed me of peace. I have been distracted by their existence, and I have been overwhelmed by their presence. Instead of trusting in you, I have allowed this situation to overwhelm me. I allowed myself to make a bed and then lay down in the middle of my circumstance. I chose to live and fellowship with feelings of despair and hopelessness. I have willingly wallowed in fear and anxiety, and I have questioned your goodness, and doubted your truth. O God of Angel Armies, forgive me for my faithlessness. Lead me out of the midst of these “blue doors.” Help me to lay my fears and anxieties at your feet. Plant my feet me on a mountain far above my spiritual enemies. Give me relief from my fears and let me lay down in peace in the midst of your presence. Comfort my heart with the truth of who you are. Let your Name and Nature be my covering and my shield. Let me see and gaze upon the glory and majesty of your steadfast love, righteousness, and abounding mercy. Let me bath my heart and mind in the truth of your grace and faithfulness. Lead me to a location and a place far above the place I currently find myself in and the circumstances I face. Give me the ability to understand my heart and the real issues I need to face. Grace me with the desire and ability to acknowledge the sins I need to confess and give me the strength to fight the battles that truly matter.
Remember my precious sisters, you were never meant to live in the midst of blue doors. He calls out to you and yearns to draw you out and up to a high place, and in into his sweet presence.