The final straw

Answer me speedily, O Lord; my spirit fails! … I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.”—Psalm 143:7; Micah 7:7 NLT

“The straw that breaks the camel’s back” is the final item in a collection of burdens or troubles, perhaps even a seemingly small thing that threatens to take you beyond the point of endurance. The strain has been building up for a while, and finally you sense that you are about to crumble. You can’t stand it any longer.

But you do, or rather you did, otherwise you would not be reading this today. Looking back at those occasions when you survived what seemed so terrible at the time can be a great encouragement. Reading the Bible can also be reassuring, because it describes the lives of people who were saved against the odds.

“Help me,” cried the desperate mother on behalf of her daughter, whom Jesus then healed.1

“Save us, O God of our salvation,” cried the people,2 and He did, countless times.

“Heal me, O Lord,” begged the prophet Jeremiah,3 who, despite his many troubles, including imprisonment and worse, lived a long and productive life.

“Have mercy on me,” cried a blind man to Jesus as He passed. Minutes later, he received his sight.4

“Save me!” was the desperate plea by Simon Peter, sinking under the stormy waves. Jesus held out His hand, and did just that.5 Peter later declared that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”6 He knew all about it. He had been saved in so many ways.

One central feature of these examples is that each person, in their own way, called on God to help them.

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble,” God tells us, but He doesn’t leave it there; He promises: “I will deliver you.”7

So perhaps the best means of surviving the final straw—or any straw, for that matter—is to ask. Help is on hand.

  1. See Matthew 15:22–28.
  2. See 1 Chronicles 16:35.
  3. See Jeremiah 17:14.
  4. See Mark 10:47–52.
  5. See Matthew 14:30–32.
  6. Acts 2:21
  7. Psalm 50:15