Possums are known for their ability to play dead. When this happens, the possum’s body wilts, its tongue flops out, and its heart rate declines. After about 15 minutes, the animal revives. Interestingly, animal experts do not believe that possums purposefully play dead to evade predators. They faint involuntarily when they become overwhelmed and anxious!
King Saul had a similar response to danger at the end of his reign.”Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.” (1 Sam. 28:20). He responded this way when the prophet Samuel told him that the Philistines would attack Israel on the next day, and that the Lord was not going to help him. Because Saul’s life had been characterized by disobedience, rashness, and jealousy, God was no longer guiding him (v.16), and his efforts to defend himself and the Israelites would be futile (v.19).
We may be in a place of weakness and despair because of our rebellion or because of the difficulties of life. Although anxiety can steal our strength, God can renew it as we lean on Him (Isa. 40:31). He “neither faints nor is weary” (v.28), and He is willing to reach down and revive us when we can’t take another step.