Five Bible Stories for When You’re Overwhelmed and Freaking Out

I am not very good at quoting scripture chapter and verse, but I know my Bible stories. It might have something to do with being an only child in an era before cell phones and the internet and having a mom who made sure I had a TON of Bible story books.

As the country begins to open up, and we’re all having to discern how to move back toward life as we knew it while keeping ourselves and the people we love safe, it can all be more than a little overwhelming. For those who are churched, figuring out how and when to return to gathering in person becomes a minefield of mask requirements, roped off pews, sanitizing stations and fears for our most vulnerable.

It’s beyond stressful.

It’s beyond what a single line of well-chosen scripture can address. But stories? That’s a different…well, story. Stories are powerful, and our stories from scripture are particularly powerful.

Here are five stories to encourage you when things seem out of control.

There are More of Those Who are With Us

When Elisha and his servant find themselves surrounded by the army of Aram with no way out, the servant cries, “Alas! What shall we do?” And Elisha says (paraphrasing), “Relax. We’ve got more on our side than they have on theirs.” And Elisha was right.

2 Kings 6:6-23

God is with you.

Some days it just feels like we’re putting out one fire after another. Other days, it feels like we’ve been thrown directly in the fire. This story reminds us that God is right there with us.

Daniel 3

God Sees You

Hagar has been used and abused. She is a slave girl who is pregnant by her master (Abraham) and hated by her mistress (Sarah) who could not become pregnant herself. She is so mistreated that she runs away. But God finds her (as God always does) and promises her a better future. She is the only one in all of scripture who calls God El Roi–the one who sees. Her story reminds us that no matter how bad things get and how far we run, God always sees us.

Genesis 16

Jesus Doesn’t Let Us Drown

Peter thinks he’s got it covered. Jesus says to get out of the boat, and he’s all about it. Then he realizes what he’s gotten himself into, freaks out and starts to sink. Sound familiar to anybody?

Matthew 14:22-33

God loves a self-advocate

This story didn’t show up in any of my Bible storybooks, and, chances are, you didn’t hear it in Sunday School. In the book of Numbers the daughters of Zelophehad go before Moses to demand their inheritance and end up changing the law of the land. In the midst in this madness, don’t forget to advocate for yourself.

Numbers 27:1-8

Remember that you are protected, seen and rescued. You are not alone, and you have more power than you believe. Sing it with me: the Bible tells me so.

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow us on Facebook and get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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