Overwhelmed—A Moses Moment

What to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

Have you ever felt that what God has called you to do is more than you can handle? Have you ever wondered how you’ll be able to carry the burden of your responsibilities? Have you felt overwhelmed to the point that you want to quit? Then you, my friend, have had a Moses moment!

And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?—Numbers 11:11

Moses felt God must have been mad at him or that he had lost God’s favor. Maybe God had revoked His blessings or didn’t want to use Moses anymore. These kinds of thoughts were streaming though his mind. I call this a Moses moment.

I have had a few of these myself as a pastor and it seems that they come most often on Mondays. All of the pressures of ministry seem to come to mind on Monday. Pretty soon, I am in a Moses moment asking God how I am supposed to do all that He is asking of me. A few things about a Moses moment…

1. Moses Moments Are Sourced in Frustration

Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom—Numbers 11:12a

Moses was rightly displeased with the behavior of the people. After all, God was angry too! (Numbers 11:10) But his anger turned into a frustration with God. To his credit, he voiced that frustration to God rather than to his wife, another leader, or an innocent bystander. (That’s convicting!)

2. Moses Moments Are Strengthened by Fatigue

“I can’t do it anymore! I am just worn out. I think I should just quit.” Have you found yourself thinking thoughts like that? Moses did.

I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.—Numbers 11:14

Satan likes to get at us when we are tired. These thoughts come after busy seasons of ministry, long days, and hard fought battles. Ironically, they come after great victories!

But recognizing our inadequacy to do God’s will is not a bad thing. Moses said, “I am not able….” I think God was saying, “I know, but I am!”

3. Moses Moments Are Scared of Failure

It wasn’t that Moses didn’t want to fulfill God’s calling—it was that he was afraid he would fail God. For honest servants of the Lord, this is something we fear in the background: I will let God down.

And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.—Numbers 11:15

Notice: he didn’t threaten to kill himself. That is an ungodly desire. But Moses felt that if God was going to leave him to do this on his own, it would be better that He take Moses home to Heaven.

In this is both the problem and the solution to the Moses moment. At first it appears as if Moses wants to quit. But really he is crying out to God for help. “Do what I cannot do! Help me!” These are legitimate pleas to the Lord.

Three Simple Steps When You Find Yourself in a Moses Moment

1. Rest. It’s ok. It was the God-given answer for Elijah’s Moses moment in 1 Kings 19.

2. Remember. You are in this because God brought you here. He is still with you, even when it doesn’t “feel” that way.

3. Rely. Ask God for help, and trust in resources you haven’t yet seen and didn’t know would be available to you.

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