“When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.” (Psalm 65:3)
I often feel overwhelmed. Even as we approach Christmas and are drawn into the wonder and majesty of the incarnation, I feel the precursors of a looming deluge of concerns, responsibilities and desires that seems far too great. Managing “life,” sharing the gospel with friends and neighbors who don’t know Christ, leading my family with the wisdom of the LORD, caring for others, repenting of my self-justification (thank you, High School Sunday school!), and even writing this Connection article all seem to conspire and inundate me. I feel inadequate; I do not know how to catch up.
Furthermore, there is my “greater” sin problem. As I ponder my sins – so numerous, so heinous, so truly against the LORD – I often experience a profound and acute sense of anxious confusion and despair. I cannot “balance” my sin with good. I cannot seem to improve or mature. My sins seem to increase and become more horrid the harder I try. Anxiety and shame draw me further from the LORD and from other believers, the gospel message grows dim, and I find myself desperately overwhelmed.
Psalm 65 breaks through to me in these moments: “when we were overwhelmed by sins…” This isn’t a description of our perceptions or feelings (alone), but a comprehensive assessment of our true condition. This is not about one time when we “had a bad day” or “stumbled,” but being fully and completely overwhelmed by sins (beyond even what we perceive). We were drowned, buried, and completely defeated by sin. The Psalm does not let us hide or pretend, but “sees” us here and declares that we are, completely, overwhelmed by sins.
Blissfully, the Psalm does not stop with this declaration and condemnation. Instead, when we are overwhelmed by sins, the LORD has a special message for us: he forgave us. He did not require some special effort on our part. God was not overwhelmed. He did not “strain” or require something “extra” to reach us when we were overwhelmed. Instead, rather simply, we are told, “you forgave our transgressions”. He provides not only hope, but a complete solution to our problem. We come, overwhelmed by the magnitude of our sins; and (of his own free mercy and through his forgiveness), our sins are wildly “overwhelmed” by the riches of Jesus Christ given to us through his death and resurrection.
When we are overwhelmed, He hears us. When we are overwhelmed, He meets us. When we are overwhelmed, He acts. When we are overwhelmed, He comes to our aid. When we are overwhelmed, He is greater. In Christ, we are overwhelmed indeed!