You know the feeling. Surely you do! It engulfs us when everything is so enormous it seems hopeless. We look "inside self" only to see the many things "wrong with me." "All that is wrong with me" so overwhelms us that "fixing me" is not an option! In "my" overwhelmed feeling, the helplessness of "my" frustration kills "my" dreams!

We look outside ourselves at our families and community. We feel overwhelmed! Expectations are unreasonably high! Disillusionment is enormous! Anticipated improvements are ridiculous! One group's hope is another group's frustration!

We look at our world and feel overwhelmed. Human needs defy comprehension! There is so much hate, so much anger, so much despair, and so much pain! So many are victims of hopelessness! So many view change as a threat! And yet, change happens so fast nothing seems stable. Frustration labels any improvement as an enemy to be feared.

American Christians are victims of three deceits. The first: control is the key to avoiding the overwhelmed feeling. In the church, we have been and often are control freaks. Why? (a) When we focus on controlling, we do not have to look inside self. (b) We have reasons for condemning what we do not like in our families and community. (c) We can tell the world, "It is your fault--you have no one to blame but yourselves!"

The second: we often are preoccupied with a "God complex." We like to "play God." Often, we judge instead of help. Often, we oppose evil instead of giving hope in Jesus. Often, we instruct God instead of surrendering to His purposes. We look at our humility and wonder why others see our arrogance. God's sovereignty makes us nervous.

The third: we tend to reduce spiritual considerations to a matter of logic. Our opposition to evil tends to be "long on human intellect" and "short on human emotion." Often, we are dumbfounded when others are unimpressed with our logical deductions. We are slow to acknowledge that the war between evil and good exceeds the logic of the human intellect. We say, "Humans are not God, and God is not a human." Yet, "I do not know," is an unacceptable answer, not a truthful response acknowledging the mystery of God and His sphere.

Remember: Ephesians 6:10-13 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." Alone, we are overwhelmed. With God, we endure. Do not underestimate the war. In the battlefield of your life, know evil is your enemy AND trust your Lord and Savior.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 22 June 2003

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