Updated: Jan 31, 2020
Thick, dark clouds loomed over the earth as rain began to fall. Lightning flashed and tore across the sky while the ground shook beneath the people's feet.
One... by one... by one... by one...
every evil thought and every wicked deed
was hurled on top of His back.
Imagine the worst crime ever committed. Imagine all the innocent bloodshed from the moment time began until today. Imagine all the victims of brutal rape, sex trafficking, homicide and genocide. Think of the abuse, the hate, the lowest of the low and the meanest of the mean. Think about your biggest offense, your open rebellion, your hidden vice and imagine it all flung onto the innocent Son of God.
Is that overwhelming to you? It is to me.
I cannot fathom my body being torn in shreds of skin and my hands plunged through with nails. I can't imagine taking every single sin throughout history upon myself. My own sin overwhelms me! Like David who said, "My sin is ever before me" (Psalm 51:3), it doesn't take much effort to recall the things I've thought, the words I have said or the actions I've committed and the mere thought of atoning for each and every wrong I alone have done overwhelms me. What's more, the day-to-day struggle of life is too much sometimes. Combining the schedules, the bills, the random illnesses and the unknown of the future with my own emotions and feelings can make me feel as though I'm drowning.
It's a lot to handle. It's a lot for anyone to handle. Sometimes our own family and friends can't deal with our "stuff" because it overwhelms them too. And if you're like me, because of that, I have a subconscious belief that my life and everything in it overwhelms God as well.
But when I stop for a minute and think about Jesus, I really can't help but be astonished . I can't fathom the sickest imaginings of every human heart being mine to bear; mine to atone for. But that's what Jesus did. In my mind I can hear His gasps of breath echoing through the air as every hateful word ever spoken pierced through His body.
The Romans considered the cross as the most horrible of deaths. Crucifixion was ghastly and the process was lengthy and horrific. It included starvation, burning thirst, dizziness, tetanus, lacerated veins and crushed tendons, wounds that would gradually gangrene, traumatic fever, swollen arteries - all intensified and all publicly shameful. That was the fate of Christ. Looking through the lens of Calvary....
...we dare to think we can overwhelm Him?
We do, don't we? Our problems and baggage are real and we are very well aware that those things can overwhelm even the most mature Christian. Over 40 million people in our country are on antidepressants and that's not because they are underwhelmed, it's because life's pain is suffocating them. They simply can't "deal" anymore. They are overwhelmed. But the problem isn't that we overwhelm each other or that we get overwhelmed ourselves. The problem is when we believe we overwhelm God.
Our theology suffers and our faith tanks when we forget that God is omnipotent. We fall into a pit of despair when we forget easily the One who hung on that cross and how He received all that overwhelms us into and upon Himself. He took the wrath of a holy God and He didn't just bare the weight of all sin, He became sin for us. How can we overwhelm Him with anything when He already became the very thing that overwhelms?
I shake in my shoes at the thought of bothering the Lord with my minuscule requests and pleas because I know I should be better; I should be more capable. But the truth is, He is just glad I called on Him.
I tiptoe into the throne room of God apologizing for taking up valuable time that could be better spent on answering the prayers of those worse off than I am. But the truth is, He is overjoyed that I came.
He welcomes every burden - big or small, new or old. He is not bound by time, He exists outside of time. He is omnipresent and cannot - hear me: cannot! - be overwhelmed. That is a glorious thought!
Your infertility issues do not overwhelm Him. Your family conflict that has been going on for 30+ years does not overwhelm Him. Your divorce does not overwhelm Him. Your financial struggle, your work place drama or your child's disability does not overwhelm Him. Your sin does not overwhelm Him. What you did, what you said and where you went does not overwhelm Him. He eagerly awaits your presence. He smiles when your voice cries "Abba!" He collects every tear and He listens intently to your every complaint. We can look out and see the mass shootings that leave dozens dead, the floods and wildfires that destroy hundreds of homes and the suicides that devastate families and friends and be tempted to keep quiet and continue struggling with our heavy load. We can look inward at all the mistakes we have made, the sin we have tried to atone for on our own and all the stupid things we have indulged in and we can convince ourselves that we are too broken, too dysfunctional for God to ever bother with us.
We could do those things. Or we can look to the God of all comfort who bore everything that is shameful and vile so that we can know everlasting peace and purity. We can place it all into His capable hands because none of it overwhelms Him. None of it is too heavy for Him.