Casting our Burdens - (Pandemic Stress #2)
Stress Relief. Just the sound of that is good, isn’t it? We face stress all the time as human beings and now even more so in our current Covid-19 altered world. We all would love to relieve that stress, but most of us have never really learned (and I still am) truly effective ways to accomplish that goal.
It would seem that the vast majority of us opt for “vegging out” with some kind of entertainment, shifting our focus off the problems, and giving ourselves a chance to breathe and calm down. Sometimes we clear our heads enough to address the problem from a calm and cool perspective. More often than not though, this form of stress relief is really a band-aid at best; a temporary cover-up that hides the wound, but does nothing to treat the infection. Fortunately for us – and especially as Christians – there are better, more effective, and longer lasting ways to deal with stress.
First there are the “natural ways” that those in the medical profession give us. Things like deep breathing, going to a tranquil place in our minds like the bank of a stream, talking a walk or other moderate exercise. All of these are great for reducing the affects of stress on our bodies and minds which is an important part of the process. These things help us to relax, thus lowering our potential for more explosive reactions.
You and I are three-part beings however – body, soul (mind) and spirit. If we only address the body and soul, and don’t find healing for our spirit, we will not treat the infection and thus can be easily re-sickened.
At our core, we are spiritual beings. Created by God to live in relationship with Him. As John 1 says, “in Him is life.” This is not simply existence like a barren tree, but it speaks of fruitfulness. Or as Ephesians tells us the fruit of the Spirit (God’s Spirit living in us) is love, joy, peace, etc. That sounds like the opposite of being stressed out, doesn’t it? So it only goes to figure that in our relationship with God, He gives us that which we need to truly relieve stress.
First off there is the gift of prayer. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “. . . casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” Let’s start with the because. God cares for us. He personally loves us and cares about what is going on in our lives. He has also promised never to leave us – no matter what the situation – and never to forsake us. In other words, He won’t leave us to fight by ourselves. He will be there and bring His resources in to help us. Resources like wisdom, strength, and peace for us, and Himself working behind the scenes in ways we cannot see. That is His promise to us.
So then in prayer – we cast our cares on Him. In doing so, we are not simply vegging or taking our focus off the problem (a problem we cannot easily handle in our own wisdom and strength – hence the stress). Instead we are inviting the Strong and infinitely capable One into that situation and then resting on His promise; resting in His faithfulness. And though we may not immediately see the answer, we wait for it with confident expectation (hope). We trust God (faith) to ultimately work it out, thus EFFECTIVELY taking the burden off of ourselves.
Yes, we are still involved, but no longer is it ultimately up to us to fix. We have given it to Him – casting it upon the One who cares for us. And we can expect to receive from Him what we need as He leads us safely through the storm.