They had been married sixty-three years, almost to the day. Now she was gone, and each day had become so very long. It seemed each one was full of choices that she must have made, and he was ashamed to admit that he had never really noticed. His function, he had felt, had been to provide a living so she could have a home where they were comfortable, and she could be home with the boys. He really assumed everything else always just “fell” into place. Now it seemed you had to make a decision about what to have for breakfast, then lunch, then dinner. It was easier not to eat, and for the most part, he really didn’t feel hungry. A bowl of cereal worked pretty well, and soon he was eating it almost every meal. His clothes seemed to get pretty dirty, and goodness, how often had she washed? When he ran out of overalls or underclothes, he tried to figure out how to work the machine. The first time he had poured the liquid dishwashing detergent into the clothes washer, he had to call the company to send someone to fix it. It became easier just to wear dirty clothes. He kept a few put back in case one of the boys came and he would need to look “good,” but for the most part it was all too much effort.
He noticed his socks were sticking to the kitchen floor more all the time. Good heavens, was he supposed to mop with something? Mabel had never said anything about that, but the spots of ice cream or cereal seemed to be multiplying. He had never given a thought to the fact that she must have cleaned up after him constantly, and never mentioned it. It was just too much. Each month it became easier to sit in the house, especially during winter, and wish God would let her come back, or better yet, take him. Church was a lot easier to watch on the television than finding clean clothes and driving there. He was pretty sure no one missed him anyway.
The one Sunday his boy was coming, he knew he was going to have to attend. Wouldn’t you know the pastor would have to preach on being overwhelmed? How did he know? What could he have to be overwhelmed about? He still had his youth, his family, his wife, a job–no worries, probably. An errant tear ran down his cheek, just as a friend turned to say something to someone near him. The friend saw.
After the service, and after the son left, a knock came on his door. Bah! No one would know whether he was home or not. He didn’t answer. The second time the knock came, he figured maybe he should go to the door. There stood his friend. He came in, uninvited, and sat down. Soon the widower was finding all the feelings he had been bottling up were just rolling out of his mouth like a faucet turned on full blast. He confessed his loneliness, his isolation, his solitary lifestyle, everything. He even said he had no idea how Mabel had done all that she had, and how sorry he was that he had taken it all for granted.
The friend left. Going to the group of seniors who met regularly at the church, he found someone who would invite his friend, pick him up, and take him to the activities the group held. He found someone else who was willing to go to his house once a week, and do some laundry, cleaning and cooking. He didn’t mind paying the little bit it would cost, and it would help so much. He called another friend and found their teen-ager was willing to go over and do yard work. He himself knew he could spare an evening or afternoon each week to play some checkers or dominoes.
Little by little the groups pulled the man back into the fold, loving on him, and giving him the encouragement and help he was so desperately needing.
Do you relate yet to any of these feelings? Or could you possibly be one of those whom God has gifted with the ability to come along side someone who is overwhelmed? This would be a great time to click on http://www.trbc.org/service-archive, and select the sermon preached on Sunday, August 7, 2016 at Thomas Road Baptist Church by Pastor Jonathan Falwell. Listen to the sermon, learning from the life of Moses, as we all find ways to be an Overcomer–being victorious in troubles and trials that come as we navigate this life. Have your notebook handy to jot all your thoughts down, and as always, this can be done in one setting, or stretch it out over the week. You can do it alone, with your family, or in a group setting. However you choose to study, remember you are doing it for the Lord, so that you can be transformed into the image of God’s dear Son, Jesus Christ.
Everyone has felt overwhelmed by life at one time or another! It is so much worse if we try to handle a situation by ourselves. Can you think of a time you were facing a trouble, and someone came along side to help you shoulder the burden? Have your notebook handy to write down your thoughts, or share them if you feel the freedom in a group setting.
From the creation of Eve as a companion for Adam, to the creation of the body of believers called the church, God has ordained relationships to be the heartbeat of our lives—both vertically with Him, and horizontally with our neighbors. Today we continue to glean more lessons from the life of Moses, who led the children of Israel for forty years. Was he overwhelmed? Let’s focus on the words of his father-in-law, and apply them to our own life.
Think About or Discuss:
It is difficult to overcome a trial when you are overwhelmed
- Read Exodus 18:13-23. It is estimated Moses led about 2,500,000 people out of Egypt. What did verses 13-16 record that he did for his daily activity? How many people waiting for your time would overwhelm you? If you’re a mom, you can really relate, as your little ones seldom leave you alone!
- In verses 17-18, what did Moses’ father-in-law tell him? Can you relate?
Living life in a whirlwind rarely leads to accomplishment
- Go back to verse 14. What did Jethro ask Moses? If you are totally overcome by your current lifestyle, how do you feel at the end of the day?
- What are some things that can cause you to want to “stay in bed” when morning comes? Write them down!
Building Godly relationships is a great first step in finding your way out
- Read verse 21a. What kind of men did Jethro suggest Moses surround himself with? How can you apply that to your own life? Think of your closest friends: do they fit these qualifications? Do you need to find new friends?
- Read verse 22b. How does this verse relate to Galatians 6:2? Is anyone helping you bear you burdens now? Are you helping anyone to bear their troubles?
Overcoming together is God’s plan
- Why did God say He was going to create Eve? Read Ecclesiastes 3:12. What is God saying through Solomon?
- Who are some of those whom God has ordained to help you carry burdens and endure trials?
It is easy to relate to the incredible burdens Moses was bearing, even though the times we live in are nothing like his. Most everyone has a schedule that feels as if it were going to break us. As you go into a new week, reflect on the things in your life that are overwhelming you, and write down ways you can chip away at the list of responsibilities. (There is a list below). If you are able, seek out others who need you as a friend to help them bear their burdens. Pray this week that you will take a step toward becoming more aware of God’s amazing power to put people in your life who will help you, and also those whom you can help!
Steps for freedom from being overwhelmed:
1) Take time out to rest from the things that are the greatest burdens. 2) Prioritize the importance of your responsibilities, working on the most important first. 3) Don’t ever let the amount of duties or “stuff” crowd out your need to spend time with God. 4) Surround yourself with true friends who are reliable, Godly and trustworthy.
Memory Verse: Exodus 18:11: “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods; for in the very thing in which they behaved proudly, He was above them.”
Focal Passage: Exodus 18:13-23
Father, please create in us a hunger for You, and the desire to encourage others who may be hurting! Give us wisdom to limit the responsibility we feel when we can tell we are becoming overwhelmed with life. In Christ, Amen.