During the holiday season, I saw several posts on Facebook where friends basically said, “I am overwhelmed!” That’s easy to do around Christmastime. There are all the presents to buy and all the holiday gatherings for church and school and family. There are cookies to bake and cards to send out and plenty of places to go. When we get weighed down with all the stress, we become overwhelmed. It’s not just at the holiday season. We can be overwhelmed at any time. Would you believe that a prophet of God was overwhelmed?
God told Ezekiel to deliver his message to the people of Judah. The message was that Babylon would destroy Jerusalem, the capital city. God was totally honest with Ezekiel. He said, “You will speak, but they will not listen and change their ways.” What a job description! “The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the Lord upon me. I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days – overwhelmed.” (Ezekiel 3:14,15 NIV).
Some of the Jews were already in exile in Babylon. Ezekiel was part of that group. Now, he had to deliver the message that Jerusalem would be destroyed. Who would want to hear that? He sat there 7 days overwhelmed. What do you do when you are overwhelmed? Our typical reaction is similar. We tend to sit and worry and fret and not get much done, which leads to being further behind. Well, Ezekiel did not sit there forever. Eventually, he shares the message with others. What should we do when we are overwhelmed? Talk to God. Pray to him about what is overwhelming you. He can and will help. Talk to a friend. Many times, just talking about it releases the tension and is a big help. Also, that friend can open us up to our flaws. “You are doing too much.” Then, you can decide what to keep on doing and what you can let go. Or maybe that friend will help you see what you can start doing that will keep you from continuing in this cycle of being overwhelmed. Possibly learning to say the word, “No!” So if you are sitting there overwhelmed, you are in good company. Ezekiel was overwhelmed. Just don’t stay there!
Written by: Jimmy Hodges