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Overwhelmed but not overcome

“Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: ‘I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name’ ” (Exodus 15:1-3).

I finally watched the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston as Moses. My favorite scene was the throngs of Israelites fleeing Egypt. Young and old. Goats and ducks. Donkeys and wagons. For the large crowd shots, at least 14,000 extras and 15,000 animals were used. It must have been a chaotic time on the movie set! How do you give direction to that many people and animals? I regularly teach Bible lessons to a class of two- to four-year-olds, and it’s hard to keep just a dozen of them on task!

Feeling overwhelmed

But now consider that there may have been as many as two million people who left Egypt, not to mention all the animals. How did Moses pull it off without a handy Exodus app? How did he communicate with his helpers without the aid of smartphones? How did he ensure that everyone remained safe, even as the Egyptian army bore down on them? As Moses and the Israelites confessed after the crossing of the Red Sea, it was the Lord who led and organized them. He was their strength, their defense, and their salvation.

God is in control of your life. How can you stay focused on this truth? By remaining in the Word.

That’s worth remembering when your life seems barely in control in spite of the many apps meant to keep you organized. With the lazy days of summer past, it’s back to work and school. Even retired grandparents are pressed into service to make sure that everyone gets to where they need to be. Or maybe you’re not as busy as you would like to be. There have been cutbacks at work, or an illness has sidelined you. That’s a different kind of stress. Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Overcoming stress

Stop. Breathe. Put down the smartphone and open your Bible. Remember how through your baptism you’ve left behind the slavery of sin and a dead-end life. You are now on your way to the promised land! Sure, there’s a wilderness ahead, but your God travels with you. He is your strength, your defense, and your salvation. Your Lord is a warrior, says Moses. He is actively fighting for you. He knows what you need for your health. He knows how to provide the right job at the right time. And even though there are more than two billion Christians in the world who are crying out to the Lord at the same time, you have God’s undivided attention—as do each of your fellow believers. He has a plan for you, even as he had a plan for each one of the Israelites who left Egypt.

God is in control of your life. How can you stay focused on this truth? By remaining in the Word. What Bible study opportunities is your church offering this fall? Make time in your schedule to attend so you can benefit from the hope and rest that God brings to you through his Word and through fellow believers who face challenges similar to yours. Like Moses and the Israelites, learn to sing with joy because of what your God has done and continues to do for you.

Author: Daniel Habben
Volume 108, Number 9
Issue: September 2021

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