Reading: John 14:27, Psalm 55:22, Philippians 4:6
I know we have all been in that situation where we were just behind with stuff. Stress is one of the worst things that a human can experience. The effects range anywhere from not getting enough sleep to, in extreme cases, mental breakdowns. These breakdowns can stay with a person from several minutes to several days. One of the major side effects is worry. We get so caught up in what we have to do that we end up worrying over things that shouldn’t even be a problem for us. At my college, this has been a really stressful semester for a lot of the student body. I don’t know exactly why, but it’s a tough semester.
The first verse I want to call your attention to is John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” I love this verse! Stress causes so much worry that we, oftentimes, can’t imagine giving everything up to God. It is always amazing to me how God seems to bring us back to Him when we fall away. This verse says that God will give peace to whoever asks for it. That’s God’s peace!! You can’t get much better than that! I have truly felt God’s peace only one or two times in my lifetime, but those were two of the best days of my life. When you truly feel God’s peace, it is absolutely amazing. It gives you such a feeling of relief that you really don’t know what to do with yourself. You are literally fine with whatever comes into your life at that point, because it’s one of those rare times when you have absolutely no doubt that God is on your side and He can take anything for you. And when God is on your side? There is nothing that you need to stress about.
Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Cast your burden on the Lord. What an amazing statement! Just to be able to give everything that is a problem in life to the one person who can make it all right again, is such a blessing. And if you do it, He will sustain you?!? As a runner, I have my good days and my bad days. Today happened to be one of my bad days. I couldn’t run under an 8:30 minute pace. Lately, I have been hitting closer to 7:30-7:35 pace when I have felt good. I know what it’s like to not have the energy to sustain a good pace. I know what it’s like to just feel like complete crap because I am drained of energy. So to hear that when I cast my burdens on my God that he will sustain me, it gives me such a relief and a reason to do it. It gives me so much hope and confidence that I can get through the stressful and drained days and times.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I have stated it before, but worry is a big side effect of being stressed. Getting behind in work leads to panicking about how and when you are going to get everything done. Panicking leads to worrying about things outside of work like practice, for the athlete, and theater performances, for the actor. Worrying leads to stress. One of the key things that we can do was stated by Paul: pray. In EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication…let your requests be made known to God. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have against the Devil’s snares when it comes to getting caught in the trap of worrying and stress.
Stress and worry just cause problems for both our physical and spiritual health. They are two of the Devil’s favorite traps. With the verses that have been presented, we can easily see that when you seriously pray to God to take away your burdens, (although He may not fully take them away), that He will give you true peace over the issue. Paul addresses this in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. He says that he was given “a thorn in his flesh.” God did not take away his struggle, but He did give him peace about it.
Prayer: Pray that your relationship with God will be strengthened through continued prayer and supplication. Pray that an unhealthy amount of stress can be removed from your brothers and sisters who are struggling with this problem. Pray for those who do not have a personal relationship with God and are extremely stressed out right now, that they will find Him through this time in their life.