Stress is a killer. Medical science has proven that stress breaks the body’s immune system down and greatly reduces our ability to fight off sickness and disease. In fact, stress is more dangerous than disease.
Stress arises when we are under pressure or strained beyond what we believe is our ability to respond. It could be family, business, or personal issues that seemingly have no positive outcome or at least not the outcome we desire. It creates tension, cultivates worry, and culminates in high levels of anxiety.
Stress has a way of focusing all our attention on one issue rather than allowing that issue to take its natural place among the myriad of things going on in our lives. That focus creates a force within that deforms who we were created to be and unleashes an invading army of self-destruction within the makeup of our spirit, soul, and body. Stress creates revolution in the molecular system God created to operate in unity. This inner revolution prematurely wears us out and breaks us down unless we deal with it properly.
Another word for stress is worry. It’s that inner turmoil that arises when you or I realize we are not in control and thus out of control. It’s that sensation of being tossed to and fro without a way to regain our footing. It’s that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. It’s that sentiment of helplessness that all of us hate and none of us can really do anything about.
If you or I allow stress to rule—that is, our fears to reign—the result is death. It may be physical death, or emotional death, or the death of a dream, a friendship, or a business deal. Stress kills and it does so with a sinister glee and an assassin’s touch.
The solution to stress is surrender—not to the circumstance or situation you are drowning in, but waving the white flag of submission to the will and the ways of God. He is not threatened by anything, so the fears we possess have no affect on Him whatsoever. He has never once been stressed. God does not exist in this creation, but this creation exists in Him—He holds it all together. The solution is in His hand. God is in control and news flash—we are not.
I am learning that no matter how much I plan, practice, prepare, prognosticate, or worry things will not always go like I want, but things always work out according to God’s plan. The key is finding His plan and abandoning mine—surrendering control to the One who really is in control.
Psalm 46:10 gives a profoundly simple solution for stress. This beautiful song of praise says, “Be still and know that I am God. I will…” Therefore, I must still myself in the midst of every storm and experience (the meaning of the Hebrew word “know”) God. Every time I take the focus off the stress-filled situation or circumstance and refocus on the One who is capable—things change—and that change usually takes place in me. An answer comes, more strength is available, or the issue disappears.
God says, “I will!”—and He really means it.