There are days in our lives that are quite stressful – that is something that we all have to face – it is inevitable. But what makes a difference is how we deal with these stresses.
Some stresses are huge and external – the kind where we look at an issue that is immense, like the stories of genocide, or see victims of crimes and disasters, or even the stories of corruption and misuse of power. Other stresses are external and closer to home, the illness of friend, the financial struggles of our friends and family, families that are broken. And some are personal – as we find ourselves isolated in our struggles, as we are challenged by things large and small….
It is overwhelming, and if we are honest, we wonder why, and how long, and will we always feel so… powerless, so broken, so inept, so hopeless.
As a pastor and even before – as a lay leader in the church – these feelings are all to common, as the stresses pressure us in, and it seems like just as we are able to deal with one issue… another situation sneaks up on us. And as a pastor, I realize that these is true for every family in my church, and all my friends.
I would say I have a secret for dealing with stress that works everytime, but that would mean I actually use it every time, which would be a lie. However, when I finally get around to it, it does work…
Paul writes of this solution to the churches of his day:
“16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. ” 2 Cor. 4
I hesitate to quote this – because from our views, those stresses are neither “light”, nor “momentary” but their do afflict us. Yet it is here we have to slow down and stop – and realize that it is not a statement that is in a vacuum, but one that compares our situation to that which we know is ours in Christ – because He has claimed us.
Okay – so we know – eventually, we will see the truth to God’s promise that all things work for good for those that love God…. that are called within His plan – but how do we deal with that in the hear and now…?
We know another promise – that He will send His Spirit – the Holy Spirit who walks besides us, comforting us, giving us strength to endure… we realize the promise that He will never leave and forsake us, and we do that which is so out of character for people in 21st century America…. we lean on HIm. We let Him be our Dad… we let Him deal with the struggles, the pressures – trusting that He will….
We stop and remember that we don’t have to play God – for we are the children of the One, True God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – who would daily take our burdens…
May we indeed let Him.