Pressure or Peace?
The great missionary to inland China, Hudson Taylor wrote, “It matters not how great the pressure is, only where the pressure lies. As long as the pressure does not come between me and my Savior, but presses me to Him, then the greater the pressure, the greater my dependence upon Him.”
According to the American Psychological Association, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly elevated the stress level of Americans. In a recent press release the APA reported the following:
“Many Americans are experiencing considerable stress related to the coronavirus and are also reporting higher levels of general stress than in recent years. American parents are, on average, feeling significantly higher levels of stress than adults without children. Parents report stressors related to education, basic needs, access to health care services and missing out on major milestones. The average reported stress level for U.S. adults related to the coronavirus pandemic is 5.9. When asked to rate their stress level in general, the average reported stress for U.S. adults is 5.4. This is significantly higher than the average stress level reported in the 2019 Annual Stress in America survey, which was 4.9, and marks the first significant increase in average reported stress since the survey began in 2007.”
So, what do we do with the stresses and anxiety associated with uncertainty and the future? As followers of Christ we are never exempted from the effects of living in a fallen world. But we do have an advantage. We have perspective that is given to us in God’s Word. And it is that perspective that makes the difference in how we cope, manage, and deal with it all. With that in mind let me share with you several precepts that will help you deal with pressure, stress and anxieties… right now!
- You can only live one day at a time… Stop trying to figure it all out 6 months in advance. Rejoice that God has given you today. Paul was in prison and yet he wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)
- Remember that God is on the side of His Children… no matter how chaotic things around us are, we know that God is with us and He is for us. As Romans 8:31 says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
- Decide to believe what you believe… it’s one thing to say what you believe, it is another thing to actually practice it. “…But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
- Set your mind on things that last forever… this life is short and will soon pass away. Don’t allow the temporary things to blind you to the big things, the eternal things. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1–2)
- Turn your fears into trust… chose to trust God. He is aware and He is in control. Put your eyes on Him and hold on to His promises. Then, get your eyes off of the circumstances. David said, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)
Remember what Jesus told us, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”” (John 16:33) So believe it and remember that God is always trying to take you someplace new. I love being your Pastor!
For God’s Glory Alone,