Outmanned, Outgunned but not Overwhelmed

By Outmanned and outgunned. This is a term used when someone is overwhelmed by a more powerful and well supplied force. I am probably not the only person who feels outmanned and outgunned when resources, time, and energy are woefully inadequate to divert what feels like a tsunami of demands. This is probably how the author of Psalm 83:2 felt when writing “See how your enemies growl, how your foes rear their heads.” Feeling outmanned and outgunned occurs in a variety of situations. This can be when being laid off from a job shortly after becoming a new parent; not having enough hours in the day to meet both work and family needs; or a medical crisis depletes one’s energy and finances. During those times of feeling outmanned and outgunned, it is helpful to remember several key truths. First is getting our eyes off the situation and onto Him. We are susceptible to averting our attention away from Jesus when troubling situations arise. Even Peter, who had just hours prior witnessed Jesus miraculously feed the 5,000, began quickly sinking when attempting to walk on water (Matthew 14:28-31) after shifting his gaze from the LORD to the howling winds and terrifying waves. So instead of focusing on a perilous situation and our limitations, we can choose to hold on to such truths as shared in Psalms 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” During these times it does not matter if we are outmanned and outgunned because “Even the winds and waves obey Him” (Matthew 8:27). Recognizing He has sources far beyond what we can imagine is a needed truth to cherish when feeling outmanned and outgunned. In Isaiah 45:3 He instructs us “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places so that you may know that I am the Lord.” Many years ago as a first time home owner, I was a recipient of His hidden treasure. Shortly after moving into the new home, I faced several large unexpected bills in addition to the monthly mortgage payment. After multiple times of tallying the upcoming expenses, there was no way my income that month would be sufficient. In desperation I began praying. While no large unexpected windfall appeared, somehow bit by bit the LORD brought forth his hidden treasure and the month ended with me remaining in the black. To this day, I cannot explain how this occurred but as He did that month and since, He faithfully takes care of me, blessing me with His hidden treasures whether the need is for additional time, energy, or resources. Another response is pausing and recalling “Ebenezer” truths. The prophet Samuel prayed and offered a burnt sacrifice to the LORD on behalf of the besieged Israelites who were repeatedly threatened by their powerful nemeses, the Philistines. In 1 Samuel 7:12 we are told he “took a stone…. he named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the LORD has helped us.” These actions resulted in the Israelites enjoying a period of protection against the Philistines. A current threat becomes less menacing when remembering how during previous difficulties “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” And, considering the LORD who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), we can confidently rely on His help in the current situation even when feeling outmanned and outgunned. Additionally beneficial is truthfully admitting within our own strength and wisdom we are outmanned and outgunned concerning a current situation. This could be by expressing feelings of helplessness in responding to a family situation, completing a daunting work project, dealing with a marriage where there has been infidelity or other types of betrayal of trust, or a myriad of other intimidating situations. During such times, we become weary, discouraged, or frustrated when trying to figure out something when answers are evasive. A more productive strategy is suggested in Psalm 34:6 “This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” Often He brings forth solutions when we cease trying to tackle a challenging situation in our own strength and instead in humbleness and honesty share with the LORD how powerless we are feeling. Focusing on the attributes of the LORD enables us to hold onto needed truths when in the midst of an overwhelming situation. Standing firmly in the belief “He has done everything well” (Mark 7:37) helps us not succumb to our inadequacies. Concerns about our inabilities fade when remembering Romans 15:13 tells us He is the “God of hope” and through Him we can “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Lamentations 3:24 assures us the LORD “is our portion.” And as we seek to discover His truth concerning our challenges, John 16:13 reveals “He will guide you into all the truth.” Life is filled with many scenarios where we can feel outmanned and outgunned. However, as believers we never have to face such situations feeling hopelessly overwhelmed. That is because the One described in Romans 11:36 as “For from Him and through Him and for Him are all Things” holds us securely in his strong right hand. Therefore, as we cling to Him regardless of the threat, we are able to emerge triumphantly as more than conquerors.