|Vol. 13 No. 5 May 2011||
Jeff A. Jenkins
Everybody has some stress in this life. It could be work related, family struggles, health issues, gas prices too high, bank account too low or numerous other concerns.
The question is not do you have any stress. The question is what do you do about it? How do you keep stress from wearing you out? How do you keep it from causing you to sin?
There are a number of bad options when it comes to handling stress. Some choose to ignore it in the hope that it will just go away. That would be nice, but it is not likely that the stress will just disappear.
Some become bitter because of the stress, resent it and worry about it even more. Some people feel guilty because of stress, and it causes them to become ashamed.
Others have a pity party and attempt to hide from the world. Then, there are those who overreact to another extreme and try to control everything as well as everyone around them. None of these options will work in the long run. There are some better options than any of these mentioned above.
In Psalm 46:10, our Father says, “Be still and know that I am God.” One translation of this verse says, “Let go and know that I am God; I rule the nations, I rule the earth.” There are two thoughts in this powerful verse. (1) Let Go. God says there are times we just need to calm down and turn everything over to Him. (2) Know. We must remember that our Father is God, and we are not.
Through the words of Peter, the Holy Spirit also tells us, “Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Notice that it is all our cares that we are to give to God. Again, let go (“cast all your cares”) and know (“He cares for you”).
If any man had had the right to be stressed out, it would have been Paul. He was in prison when he penned the words, “…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Philippians 4:11).
Paul did not say this inner peace was a gift from God or that it came to him automatically. We are not born with feelings of contentment. Paul said he had to learn contentment. It is a mark of maturity.
There are times when the difficulties we endure in life will build contentment and patience. No wonder James said, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3).
One cause of stress is when our dreams are dashed, when things do not work out the way we think they should, or when we feel we do not have hope. We all have plans, but we also have problems.
We have an enemy who is out to get us. Satan does not want us to succeed. Our adversary is prowling around like a roaring lion, “seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He will use whatever schemes (Ephesians 6:11) he can to defeat us.
Another problem is that we live in an imperfect world. Since sin entered the world there has always been problems. The world is broken and filled with sin. Because of that we cannot control everything that happens. Many times life on this planet just is not fair. We will better be able to survive when we realize this truth.
Oh, and just a few other quick thoughts. When you feel stressed out, spend more time in prayer, talk to someone you trust and laugh more! Remember these Scriptures: Romans 8:28, 31; 2 Corinthians 4:17.
Today is Mother’s Day, a day set aside for the public expression of love and respect for mothers. Although such a day was given official sanction by Congress in 1914, the desire to love and respect our mothers is rooted in our very being. Certainly, Scripture emphasizes the fundamental role mothers play in our physical, emotional and spiritual development. The worthy woman of Proverbs 31 is highly esteemed by her children; “Her children rise up and call her blessed” (31:28). That mothers are worthy of such honor and esteem is confirmed by both Old and New Testaments (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2).
An example of such a godly mother is found in Timothy’s mother, Eunice. Paul reminded Timothy of the debt he owed his mother and grandmother, not just for the care they extended to him physically, but the hope of things eternal they instilled in him, as well. “When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). Paul knew Timothy had received a solid foundation of faith from his mother, a faith that motivated her to seek the best for her child. Of all that Eunice offered Timothy as a mother, this was the most precious gift she could give to her son, the gift of faith in God.
Being a mother today is not an easy task. Not all are able to provide the essentials their children need to survive. Some provide their children with food, clothing, shelter, an education, money and possessions in abundance, but still do not offer them the love, security, self-respect and other qualities needed for their physical and emotional stability. Even with all of these, there is still an essential need that must be filled in children if they are to be whole and balanced individuals. Without providing for them spiritually, the greatest disrespect is shown, for faith in God holds promise not just for today but for eternity.
In our culture, there are many demands placed upon mothers, which have to do with the needs of her family, as well as her own needs. It is not easy providing for others’ needs, much less considering her own needs. May we, whether in memory or in their presence, accord our mothers the love and respect they are due. May we offer them the care they need, through time, which we can provide. May we offer the greatest gift possible, that which creates the greatest joy in a mother’s heart, by loving God and being faithful Christians, sharing in a mother’s hope. There are many things that affect our lives, but, as Paul reminded Timothy, the love and care of a godly mother can never be replaced.