Episode 1. Trust in the Lord
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There are lots of things in this world that cause us stress. So many things out there, out of our control that could go either way not to mention our own foibles and insecurities. So what we really need is something that brings us peace. Well we’re continuing today in looking at the stress in […]
There are lots of things in this world that cause us stress. So many things out there, out of our control that could go either way not to mention our own foibles and insecurities. So what we really need is something that brings us peace.
Well we’re continuing today in looking at the stress in our lives and not just stress but how to deal with it. Last week on the program we’ve been taking a bit of a look at the things that cause us stress because stress is knocking a lot of people around. The statistics on stress are frightening; they say that more than half of all visits to the local Doctor are stress related.
Stress costs our national economies billions each year and as we saw while some stress in life is good, it helps us to rise to challenges and to achieve things, our body and our mind and our emotions and our spirit weren’t made to be under constantly high levels of stress. High stress makes us sick, very sick. Stress causes cravings making us eat the wrong food, it increases blood pressure, it causes us to gain weight, it contributes to heart disease, to stroke and even increases the risk of cancer not to mention the fact that it plays complete havoc with our emotions often sending people into depression.
Stress is a major contributor to suicide so there’s a really good reason why we’re looking at stress on the program at the moment. Chances are you’re impacted by stress and wondering ‘How do I deal with this? What can I do about it?’ Given the choice between stress and peace I don’t think that there’s many people out there who wouldn’t rather live a life of peace.
So up to this point in the series we’ve been looking at the causes of stress, today we’re going to start looking at some solutions and not the world’s solutions. Google is a wonderful thing; it trawls the internet for just about everything on anything. When you Google stress relief mostly what you discover is relaxation techniques, take a hot bath, watch some television to get your mind off things, spend some time with friends, some will even tell you to practice yoga and meditation. Play stress relief games, identify your stress responses and manage them.
Well it all sounds great but here’s the problem I have with them, they’re a bit like taking an aspirin for a headache, they may well alleviate the symptoms for a short time but they don’t solve the problem by treating the cause. If your headache is caused by a brain tumour aspirin isn’t going to do it right? You need something that goes to the root cause.
The same is true for stress and anxiety. Now the mistake we make when we think about the root cause of our stress is imagining that the root cause is that thing out there that’s causing us the stress. It’s that difficult person, it’s that difficult relationship, it’s the fact that I’m struggling in my finances or I’ve just had a bad medical diagnosis from the doctor, it’s that thing out there that’s causing me stress, if I can deal with that then I won’t have any more stress in my life. That’s our rationale, that’s what we think.
But stress is our response to a situation, stress is something that we do to ourselves. Of course sometimes scary things happen, someone we love dies and the process of grieving is stressful. We lose our job and the process with dealing with our finances is stressful. But a lot of what we stress over is totally manageable except for the fact that we’re stressing over it.
Stress, anxiety, fear, those things immobilise us, they stop us from doing the things that we need to do to deal with the situation. So when I’m talking about dealing with the root cause I’m talking about dealing with whatever is going on inside us that’s causing the stress response. Because each and every day of our lives, pretty much, is going to bring along circumstances, situations, people, things that have the potential to cause us stress.
It’s one thing to have an initial response of fear or shock when something potentially stressful comes our way, it’s another thing entirely to spend the rest of the week, the rest of the year, the rest of our lives, stressing out over it. So let me share my number one, numero uno stress buster with you right now. Trust in the Lord your God.
It sounds like a cop-out perhaps for some but in a moment I’m going to tell you why it’s the one solution that decisively deals with stress, Proverbs chapter 3, verses 5 and 6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.
The thing that causes us stress by and large is when something that has the potential to negatively impact us is completely outside our control, would you agree? The doctor tells you that she’s detected a tumour on your scan but she doesn’t know if it’s malignant or benign or whether they’re going to be able to operate on it and get it all out.
So much out of your control in that scenario and your very life hangs in the balance, stress. But now bring God into the picture, there are three key facts that I want you to note about God in this stressful scenario. Firstly, He loves you beyond measure, in fact He loves you so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die to pay for your sins to give you eternal life. He loves you so much He wants to spend the rest of eternity with you so there’s absolutely no question about how much He loves you.
Secondly nothing escapes Him, He never fails to notice what you’re going through. If He knows exactly how many hairs you have on your head and He does because the Bible tells us so then He surely knows what you’re going through and thirdly nothing is outside of His control. If He created the universe He has the power to deal with anything and everything that’s going on in your life.
Now put those three facts together and what you have is a compassionate loving God who completely understands and who has just the right plan for your life and the power to make it happen. He knows what to do, when to do it and how to get it done and He’ll do it. The Bible has a name for that, it’s called God’s faithfulness.
The writer of the Book of Lamentations was looking over the destruction and devastation after the Babylonians had completely and utterly destroyed Israel and taken God’s chosen people into captivity as slaves. He pours his heart out which is why the Book is called Lamentations but then despite what he sees, despite the devastation and the pain and the stress that he feels in his heart he comes to this conclusion, Lamentations chapter 3, verses 22 to 24:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they’re new every morning, great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’ says my soul therefore I will hope in him.
My friend no matter what you’re going through at the moment, no matter what lies ahead, no matter what devastation and ruin that your eye can see, your God is faithful and when you put your trust in Him all of a sudden the stress goes away because He can and will act to make sure His steadfast love plays itself out in your life.
Look each one of us is going to die sooner or later and along the way each one of us is going to have some financial worries, some health problems, relationship issues, inadequacies and insecurities, there is more than enough in each week to get you and me to worry ourselves and stress ourselves in an early grave but here’s God’s advice to you and me today, trust in the Lord your God with all your heart, don’t lean on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths, Proverbs 3 verses 5 and 6.
No amount of relaxation techniques, yoga, TV, dinner with friends is going to come anywhere close to the impact of trusting God with all your heart.