The Stress Reliever

“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold[a] your peace.”

Exodus 14:14
 

Hows your stress level today? Are you worried about the future? God knows and understands and has much to say in His Word on how we can turn our panic into prayer and our worry into worship. In Philippians 4:4 the apostle Paul who is writing this letter from a Roman prison cell reminds the church that no matter what you are facing, regardless of your circumstances, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” The word ‘rejoice’ is an important word that means “to express confidence in.” We can rejoice in the midst of trials because our confidence is in God. God will come through for you!

Because we have confidence in God we need to express it! That’s why Paul can go on and say in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When our confidence is in Jesus we can and will, “Trust an unknown future to a known God.”

Are you aware that studies have shown that 85% of the things we worry about NEVER happen. This means that of all the things you’re worrying about right now, 85% of it won’t happen. Sadly, most of us become math majors and say what about the other 15%, the 15% of the things that I do worry about that come to pass? How do we not worry and truly be happy? No one goes unscathed through this life. God has not promised that we’ll live in a pain-free world. Jesus has told us in advance of the troubles each of us will face in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will  have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." In other words we need to face the facts. Loved ones are going to die, and hardship will come into our lives. This is not heaven, but there is the good news that goes along with the bad. We might live in the land of the dying, but we are headed to the land of the living!

Yes, death will touch us all, but we have this promise from Jesus that we read about in Revelation 1:17-18, “Don’t be afraid!” John records the revelation, “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me,  "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Thank God, Jesus has the keys and it’s not up to you and me. If God would have left us with the keys we’d all be lost today wondering what happened to the keys.

Often times in counseling appointments I’ll ask the person I am meeting with what was the most spiritual moment in their life? In other words, when was the time in their life when they felt God’s presence more than any other? For me, the most spiritual moment of my life, the moment when I felt the presence of God more than any other, was when I was laying on a hospital operating table and the doctor was about to attempt to put a stent in the LAD artery behind my heart, I was scared at the news it was 90% blocked. My heart was racing and my blood pressure was up and then the doctor performing the procedure walked over and laid his hand on my chest and prayed. And when he prayed all the fear, all the worry all the anxiety that was built up in my mind was suddenly gone and in its place was peace. And there is a reason Gods peace was there. Gods peace was there because His presence was there. They go together. When Gods presence is there His peace is too. That’s how you know since no one can see God.

As I lay there on the operating table a warmth came over me, a comfort unlike anything I had known before. I felt the comfort of God in the midst of my fear. I didn’t go looking for God, God came to me right where I was at. And if God would do that for me He certainly would do that for you. God wants all of us to experience Him, to know Him and to enjoy the peace His presence provides.

In Mark 4:35, we have Jesus after a long day of teaching Jesus coming to His disciples and saying, “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"  And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!"

After Jesus calmed the wind and the waves of the storm the disciples began to understand that Jesus, being fully God was in control. Just like in the very beginning when in the book of Genesis it tells us God spoke the heavens and earth into existence by the word of His mouth. Jesus here in the Gospels simply speaks a word and the storm ceases. Let God speak to the storms in your life. Let Him calm the fears and worry, the anxiety and the stress.

It’s been well said that if every person who owned a Bible in America opened it at the exact same time we would experience a dust storm that would go from coast to coast. The next time fear tries to capture your heart don’t focus on the size of your problem but instead focus on the size of your God. Get in the Word of God and more important, let God’s Word get into you. In Matthew 11:30-31 Jesus gives an invitation, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Gods peace is a gift for us to receive. It’s a gift we get when we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord. He’s the gift that just keeps on giving!


“Jesus told His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
John 14:27


I LOVE YOU!





Michael Osthimer

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