One thing I love about reading, studying and praying and meditating through the book of Psalms is that each Psalm usually begins with a Psalmist’s heavy heart crying out, and ends in praise and rejoicing. Psalm 61 is no exception.
There are several reasons I love Psalm 61, and verse 2 is a bit part of that. Here are some of the reasons that Psalm 61:2 is such a huge encouragement for me:
- No matter where we are on this earth, God hears us. There is no where we can go that God cannot reach (Psalm 139:7). This fact alone should provide comfort and encouragement to the heart and soul of the reader identifying with “alone”.
- We all feel overwhelmed at some point or another. David says, “when my heart is overwhelmed”. Not if, when. It is completely normal for our hearts to feel overwhelmed on occasion. The key is that we each need to take it unto the Lord.
- God is our rock. What an encouraging and reassuring fact, to know that we have a rock which cannot be moved (Psalm 62:6).
As much or as little you are in need of some major league encouragement today, just remember, God absolutely hears you when you cry, and when you are just overwhelmed; all you need to do is talk to Him. He will lead you and protect you!
“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2
Psalm 61 AKJV
To the chief Musician upon Neginah, A Psalm of David.
1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For thou hast been a shelter for me,
and a strong tower from the enemy.
4 I will abide in thy tabernacle forever:
I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
5 For thou, O God, hast heard my vows:
thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.
6 Thou wilt prolong the king’s life:
and his years as many generations.
7 He shall abide before God for ever:
O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.
8 So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever,
that I may daily perform my vows.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Hear my cry, O God
Attend unto my prayer
From the ends of the earth
My cry comes unto Thee
And when my heart is overwhelmed
Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I
That is higher than I
For Thou has been
A shelter unto me
A strong tower
From the enemy
And when my heart is overwhelmed
Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I
That is higher than I
These are the words to a much beloved camp song, and they are also the words to Psalm 61. Hundreds, probably thousands, if not millions of campers have come and gone to summer camp or sat in the woods of a forest by some river or flowing stream and sat around the campfire, trying to quiet their souls from the harsh circumstances of life singing these words, reflecting upon their meaning.
For years upon years, more than they can remember, they have been gathering together both believers and non-believers, just to break away from mainstream civilization to give unto their taxed and tired hearts, bodies, minds, souls some much needed rest., to detoxify themselves from the hustles and bustles of life. And why not? we all need to take that time away to simply “chill out” from life. We can only take so much upon ourselves that we feel like we will just “burst.” For mental health and physical and safety reasons, we need to have that time.
When Life seems to go on forever and ever and ever …. without any end ….
David is recognized as the author of this psalm, and David frequently found himself in many situations where the entire world was against him. After being plucked from his father’s flocks and assigned to be a bodyguard and musician for King Saul, David was constantly sent out into battle and eventually hunted down by the king himself. Saul knew the favor of God had departed from him and had been given to David, and his own failures haunted him to the point of jealously and madness. Even after Saul spared his life and he ascended to the throne, David was assailed by warring nations and his very own sinful desires.
No matter the cause or reasons, we can all relate to David at times. It may seem like everything comes against you: a medical diagnosis, a lost job or loved one, another failure, a fall to temptation, or some other calamity. And it seems like they all just happen at once – when you assess your life and think you can stay steady under this new tension, another weight is dropped on your shoulders.
Psalm 61 was written by David at one of the many times when he was far from home and safety. It begins with his desperate cry to God. He is despairing, lost, and struggling. “My heart is crying, and it is overwhelmed!” he tells the Lord.
If we are rigorously and vigorously honest, with ourselves, and with others, many of us can truly relate to the feelings of David. We know what it is like to sit in darkness and wonder if light will ever come. In his sorrow, David calls out to God in prayer. He knows the only way he can rest and find safety in the Rock of Salvation is if God reaches down and, intercedes and places him atop the rock which is higher than he and everybody else is where only God can reach him.
Are Your Heart and Soul being Overwhelmed?
The depth of sadness described in this psalm is not an everyday sadness. The level of exhaustion and resignation is not the normal tiredness we feel at the end of the day. It is a profound, soul-rending sense of loss and fear. It is important not to make light of the deep struggles’ others may go through by comparing your heart felt soul felt pain, however legitimate, with theirs.
That being said, we will be worn down by the world. Jesus Himself promised us that even our loved ones could turn on us, and practically guaranteed that we would have trouble in this life. Our world is fallen and tainted by sin, and no amount of manmade goodness can cover the stain of evil that has scarred mankind. The weight of our sin weighs heavily upon our souls and shoulders.
Many things can contribute to an overwhelming sense of dread at the prospect of facing even one more day. A sudden and dangerous medical diagnosis, deep personal loss through financial hardships and or death can certainly be a valid reason to grieve and to mourn. On days when it seems that the whole world is against you, that sense of loneliness can be pretty overwhelming. Even in the face of the everyday evils that swarms over the earth devouring the innocent and preying on the weak can overwhelm a soul sensitive to the heart of God.
What Ought We to be Doing in such times as these?
First of all, know and accept that your grief is not being misplaced. When you reach the lowest point, know that your mourning has value, is not worthless. God surely and certainly wants to hear the deepest cries of your heart at all times, if your heart is only capable of producing tears, God accepts that honesty.
Next, we must always remember that God not only wants to hear our cries, but He also wants to heal our wounds. He wants to carve out the broken places in our lives, soothe them with His healing presence, and replace them with more of Himself. Only by inviting God into your hurt can you experience a peace that passes all understanding, regardless of what all else is happening around you.
It is healthy to grieve, but it is not healthy to wallow endlessly, assuming there is no hope. In all things, Jesus is the author of and ultimate place hope for the world. His grace is sufficient for every shortcoming, and His strength is made perfect in every weakness. While we should express our sorrow in healthy ways, we should also be willing to give our hurt to God and trust 1000% He will work something good from it. We will never fully understand the mind of God in this life, but faith can sustain us through the dark times when our walls come down.
In God, David has always found safe refuge and secure shelter. He has found rest, comfort, and retreat in places only God knows. So why would he not, in his darkest moments, cry out to the God who is his “rock,” his hiding place, and his fortress? And as he cries out, David finds 100% comfort in God’s grace and care.
Sometimes, when our hearts are overwhelmed, all we need do is cry out to God and ask that in our desperation and fear, God would place us on stable ground. God would comfort us and lead us to safety. God would shelter us and deliver us. Right in this exact and exacting moment or season, what is overwhelming you?
In this season of pandemic hot and cold, and summer and winter and job loss and only Lord knows the weight what of all those other activities, what weighs heavy, heavier and heaviest on your heart? Hopefully, the words of this Psalm will bring you comfort and a small amount of peace as you remember that when your heart is overwhelmed, YOU PRAY! you always find rest in God, your rock.
The next time your heart seems overwhelmed, try turning to God in worship.
You may not feel fully invested in that exact moment, but the Word of God never returns to God void. God will absolutely use even the smallest amount of faith to work miraculous things in our hearts. Psalms like this one are called psalms of lament, and they are in the Bible for a reason: they can be a model and an outlet for our worship when words simply will not come. Try reading through this entire psalm or another familiar passage and use those words to pour out your overwhelmed heart unto the God Who is never overwhelmed.
God the Father can NEVER be OVERWHELMED!
God the Son, Jesus can NEVER be OVERWHELMED!
God The Holy Spirit can NEVER be OVERWHELMED!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us pray, (PSALM 61 The Message)
61 1-2 God, listen to me shout,
bend an ear to my prayer.
When I’m far from anywhere,
down to my last gasp,
I call out, “Guide me
up High Rock Mountain!”
3-5 You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.
6-8 Let the days of the king add up
to years and years of good rule.
Set his throne in the full light of God;
post Steady Love and Good Faith as lookouts,
And I’ll be the poet who sings your glory—
and live what I sing every day.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.