Stress and pressure come from a lot of different places. It can be work-related, marriage problems, family relationships, school, finances, any number of things that create anxiety in your life. For many, it’s the hectic pace of life that leads to stress. Someone wrote an antithesis of Psalm 23,
“The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest.
It makes me lie down only when exhausted.
It leads me into deep depression. It hounds my soul.
It leads me in circles of frenzy, for activities sake.
Even though I run frantically from task to task, I will never get it all done,
For my ideal is with me. Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me.
They demand performance from me, beyond the limits of my schedule.
They anoint my head with migraines,
My in-basket overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressures shall follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever”
I’m not sure how many people still use pressure cookers today, but they were a household staple for many people when I was a kid. Today, they have resurfaced somewhat in the form of the instant pot, but in my time they were heavy pots with a sealable, lockable lid that had a steam valve on the top. Once it got going, the pressure would build and steam would be released through what for many cookers was a rocker valve, which would rock back and forth as the steam forced its way out. Many were quite noisy but could cook food quite quickly, even from frozen.
Sometimes it can seem like we are in a pressure cooker kind of life. The stresses and worries that we have can be overwhelming, leading to health problems, depression, and burnout. So how can we cope and deal with stress? The Bible has some good advice that helps overcome stress in our lives.
Philippians 4:6 says, “6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Paul’s antidote to worry and stress is prayer. Pray about everything. Talk to God about everything. We have become a society that heavily relies on counseling because of the importance of talking to someone about what you are feeling or struggling with. Helplines, and crisis lines, personal counseling, marriage counseling, anger management, and more, all to get us talking through our problems. One of the greatest stress reducers we have is being able to talk to God about anything and everything, and as we do, Paul says we will experience God’s peace, which will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!
Proverbs 3:5-6 says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
When we depend on God for direction and guidance in our decisions and choices, we can be confident that He will lead us in the right path. Knowing that no matter what that decision is or how difficult it may be, our trust is not in our own selves but in God, it will help give us the assurance that all is well and God is helping us as we follow Him. John Wesley wrote, "Among the many difficulties of our early ministry, my brother Charles often said, “If the Lord would give me wings, I'd fly.' I used to answer, If God bids me fly, I will trust Him for the wings.'"
Paul talks to the Corinthians about his struggle with having what he called, “a thorn in the flesh”, which he says, he asked three times for God to take it away. But each time God said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” he goes on to say that’s why he is “glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Life is not easy, and we will not always find that the path is clear. Jesus taught that we would have trouble in our lives. James said we should even find joy in our troubles, because they would make us stronger in our faith.
It is often the troubles and trials that we go through that teach us the most and make us stronger. Oswald Chambers said, “Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace.”
Jesus said in Matthew 11:Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Remembering not only that God is with us, but that He is with us in the challenges of life in an active way. The illustration Jesus uses is of a yoke, something that is used in agriculture to team animals such as oxen together to pull a plow, for instance. The yoke would lessen the load by sharing it between two instead of one, making the job easier. What a beautiful picture of how Jesus invites us to walk with Him and have Him lighten our load! He is with us, beside us, bearing our burdens, carrying our cares! He gives us rest in the weariness of life, but we need to come to Him!
The pressures and stress you may feel in your life can be helped by talking to God about our troubles, by trusting Him is our choices and understanding that through our troubles we learn and are made stronger! And, we know we are not alone. He gives us rest by helping, walking with us, sharing our load, and caring for us.
As we approach the weekend, we remind everyone that our online service includes communion, so please have the elements ready in your home. As well, we are again planning for a drive-in service at 4 pm, weather permitting, so we hope to see you there!
On June 14th we will be having an online recognition of our students that are graduating, Jonah Sacrey and Ethan Penney, as well as a special drive-in graduation service in the afternoon. This is, of course, a very different graduation for our students due to Covid19 restrictions, so we want to do our best to recognize them. We will have a drop-off area for any cards that you wish to bring and will be following our usual protocol of having everyone remain in their cars.
Please remember to watch our services online at the links found below. If you wish to give a donation to Kingsway, click on Donate, and follow the instructions.