WHEN MY HEART IS OVERWHELMED
PSALM 61:1-4 NKJV
1 Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
4 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah
No one ever said David had an easy go of it. From being initially rejected by his family to being pursued by King Saul, David had his highs and lows. So when we see how David prayed and talked with the Lord, we can learn.
David was feeling some form of trauma. He asked God to hear his cry. Not his praise, but something coming from a place of hurt. "From the end of the earth" indicated a lonely place. And from this lonely place, David was calling out to God.
And I love what David expresses next. "When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
We don't know exactly what has transpired that has overwhelmed his heart. Often we get some idea of the context at the beginning of a psalm. But here, we are not sure.
However, we can imagine it was problems from David's enemies that has overwhelmed his heart. In the first 30 years of his life, David faced opposition. Being a fugitive with no place to go could overwhelm your heart. Constantly running to stay ahead of Saul could be heart overwhelming. Feeling the responsibility of the 600 men and their families who followed David could weigh on his heart. David had plenty of opportunities to be overwhelmed. But David knew what to do about it.
“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” A rock in the wilderness was a place of strength and refuge. Enemies could not burn down a big rock. And if you were high on the rock, you had a better view of what was coming your way.
David alludes to this safe place in verse three. This is where he declares God to be his shelter and his strong tower. David was not speaking of literal rocks, shelters, and towers. David had such a relationship with God that he viewed God as his place of strength and a place of refuge from the attacks of the enemy.
David declared that he was staying close to God. When he declares that he will live in God's tabernacle or tent forever, David seems to grasp the eternal nature of God. And he understood that his place of strength was a place of trust. David did not see literal tents and towers, but David believed that God would be that to him.
David's faith in God was impressive. Yes, he was anointed to be king and had a strong sense of God's hand and purpose in his life. But guess what? We can have the same sense of God’s purpose and hand on our lives.
We have been made a royal priesthood according to Peter. We have been made children and heirs of God. We have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. We have a purpose to be a fruit-bearing branch of the Vine that is Christ our Saviour.
And we can have faith in God. Faith that He is good. Faith in His help and ability to shelter us from the storms. That God our Father will be to us a rock, a shelter, and a tower. With all that going for us, we don't have to stay in a heart-overwhelmed place. We have been led to the rock that is Christ. He is stronger and greater than the efforts of our enemies.
Lord, thank You for being my rock, strong tower, and refuge from the storms of life; a safe place from all my enemies. When my heart is overwhelmed, I know I have someone I can go to.