Psalm 46:1-3 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.” NKJV
Philippians 4:6-7 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” NKJV
Stress can be a silent killer both in the natural and the spiritual. I contend that more people probably suffer under the heavy burden of stress and pressure than in any other generation. More people are dealing with physical, emotional, and spiritual disorders. That is due to the unbelievably fast-paced pressure-packed way of living that is a common condition in our present world.
Stress and pressure are two everyday companions of many people in the church and the world. One of the funniest but almost too realistic for comfort children’s books I have ever seen is, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Not Good, Very Bad Day.”
This little boy named Alexander was having one of those days. Nothing went right, and he encounters back-to-back disappointments and tragedies beyond what any human should be expected to endure. He moved from one predicament to another, and as the old saying goes, “He cannot win for losing.”
When he woke up that morning, he said, “I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and not it is in my hair. When I got out of bed this morning, I tripped on my skateboard and, by accident, dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running, and I could tell this was going to be a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!
After that horrible beginning, he endured a terrible day at school, an awful visit to the dentist, and a no-good stop at the shoe store. Alexander slumped in his chair at the dinner table and realized his troubles were not over. He hated Lima Beans, and what was on his plate? Lima Beans!
There was kissing on the T.V., and he hated kissing. His bath water was too hot, and he got soap in his eyes. He was playing with a marble, and it went down the drain. To add insult to injury, his mother laid out his railroad train pajamas, and he hated those pajamas. When he went to bed, his brother, Nick, took back his pillow, and his Micky Mouse Night Light burned out. To make matters worse, he bit his tongue, and his cat wanted to sleep with another brother, not him. He lamented, “It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!” Have You Ever Had One of Those Days?
Days like that do not inspire us to venture into new realms. They cause us to become hermits and hide from the rest of the world. We have all had those days! They create tension and cause us to become fretful and filled with anxiety. Humans are very strange creatures. We tend to run when we lose our way. Instead of pausing to regroup and regain our sense of direction, we bounce off the walls going from place to place, Hurrying, Worrying, and Scurrying.
In times like that, we must stop and allow the Holy Spirit to take complete control and bring order to our lives. We need to discover that God is God! He will be exalted! He is with us! He is our strong tower! But victory does not always come overnight or instantly. God often uses an infinite number of vehicles, tools, and pressures to help us grow. There is no Instant growth, spiritually or naturally!
Stress results from taking more on us than God intended us to take. We begin to assume the place of God and play God in the matter. That is both a mistake and a sin. I saw a survey and research report by Dr. Thomas H. Homes of Washington University in which he studied Measured Stress in terms of “Life Changing Units.”
On his scale, the Death of a Spouse equaled 100 Units. Divorce produced 75 Units. Pregnancy equaled 40 Unites and Remodeling a Home was 25 Units. Christmas, according to Dr. Homes, was 12 Units. The conclusion was that from a strictly human viewpoint, no person, in his own strength, could handle 300 or more Units in a Twelve-Month Period without suffering physically and emotionally for the next two years.
Each of us faces situations virtually every day with stress and Pressure. That is a fact of life and not something that we can avoid. If we become crippled by stress, we cannot be all God wants us to be. We will not be a witness for Jesus if we are crammed into the Pressure Cooker of Stress that we cannot enjoy even the simplest pleasures of life.
Unless we learn the Secrets of God regarding the cares of this life, we will become virtually useless for the Kingdom of God. If not useless, we will become so hampered and restricted that we are highly ineffective. We will not be able to Trust God, Help Others, and Enjoy the Abundance of Life that Jesus came to bring. Philippians 4:6 advise us, “Be anxious for nothing….” The converse is “Be content and at peace in everything.”
Psalm 46 gives us a beautiful picture of God’s Promise and the Place He desires for us, and we will delve into that in the next devotional, but for now, we pause, and I pray the peace of God upon each of you!
God, bless you richly is my prayer and desire!