(Jesus said) "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
There are good days, and days which are, well, you know ... days when ...
* the alarm doesn't go off and if it did, you shut it off and went back to sleep;
* it's raining and your umbrella is nowhere to be found;
* one child just remembered he is responsible for show-and-tell, and your other child is crying because he has a stomach ache;
* you can't find your keys and when you do, you find one of the tires looks flat.
Stress has a way of taking little things, blowing them out of proportion, and transforming kind-and-gentle you into a touchy, short-tempered grouch. We know we are not fit to be around and we know we should curb our temper, but we just can't manage to pull off nice.
Our stress can break free at the most inconvenient times; it can lash out at any unsuspecting soul who crosses our path.
Now I've looked through a few translations of the Bible and the vast majority of them don't have a single reference to the word "stress." That doesn't mean, however, that stress is confined to our modern age.
* Joseph's string of unfortunate episodes must have put the poor fellow under stress.
* Listening to the continuous complaints of his people must have stressed out Moses.
* In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus sweat, as it were, great drops of blood. I can't imagine a more stressful situation than facing an unfair death while you are carrying the sins of the entire world.
Over the centuries humankind has developed many ways to deal with stress. They can be as uncomplicated as "finding your happy place" or as physically taxing as high-temperature yoga. The problem with all these programs is they depend on the individual to bring about his own healing.
And that "Physician, heal thyself" plan of action doesn't always work so well.
No, if we really want to de-stress ourselves, we would do better to go to our Maker and listen to what He has to say about the matter. If we do, we will be amazed to see the number of times the Lord has dealt with the subject and given us advice. He says we should
* cast all our burdens on the Lord, and He will sustain us (see Psalm 55:22);
* not be anxious, since we can make our needs known to the Lord (see Philippians 4:6);
* remember He is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble (see Psalm 9:9).
God's invitation list shows that our stress has met its match in the Savior's presence.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, a sinful world will produce stress. May I always give thanks for the love of my Savior who asks us to cast our burdens on Him. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries