I received some news recently that was overwhelming. I was reflecting on my reaction to it and felt that I hadn’t given the full response that I would have liked to. I was calm and feel that I was supportive of the person telling me but I was later disappointed that I hadn’t addressed the situation more clearly. I was praying about this and feeling quite disappointed when the thought came to me that I had actually handled the situation well. When we receive surprising and overwhelming news, any response that is calm and supportive is a good response. Trying to process things and come up with clever answers too quickly can often end in disaster and misunderstandings.
Being overwhelmed is difficult and it often leads to stress. Taking time to pray and reflect on what happened is important to me and it is helpful in finding God’s peace and also finding the wisest way forward.
Being overwhelmed is generally a negative thing but it occurred to me that we should feel overwhelmed by God’s grace and love and that this is a good thing. The New Testament was written in Greek and the word used for baptism was also used for sunken ships. Believers baptism involves dipping a follower of Jesus under the water to symbolise their cleansing from sin. It is a fantastic symbol that reminds us that Gods grace surrounds and overwhelms us in order to wash all of our sins away. The going under the water and coming up again also is symbolic of death an resurrection. It shows that we are putting our old way of life behind us and that we are beginning a new life following Jesus.
It is sad if our response to ‘Jesus died for us’ has become that’s nice. My sin condemns me to eternity without God, but on the cross Jesus took our sin so that we can be free to know and follow God. Without Jesus and his death and resurrection we are doomed and so our response to his sacrifice for us should be to feel overwhelmed. Jesus gave his life for us!
King David prayed, ‘Restore to me the joy of your salvation’ (Psalm 51.12). If we understand what salvation from God is then we should be full of joy. Jesus offers to rescue us from sin and death and we can receive his forgiveness and freedom if we turn to him.
If we have received Jesus’ salvation, my prayer is that we would be overwhelmed as he helps us to see more of what he has done for us.