Life brings stress, all different kinds of stress.
Recently, I have been feeling overwhelmed with a new job and a steep learning curve. I feel inadequate and ill equipped for the tasks I have been asked to do, and that causes great anxiety for me. Those feelings begin to seep into other areas of my life as well, and I begin to wonder if I am really capable of being successful. I wonder if maybe I just can’t handle a stressful job and should have lower expectations for myself.
Those thoughts were lies, and when I realized what was happening I turned straight to God.
I am in a place of tension, but He is in control. I am not the source of my own strength and wisdom–this brings me great comfort. I feel inadequate because I am relying on myself to handle all that life and my job are throwing at me. Instead, I remind myself to lean on God.
And furthermore, if I put my best foot forward and I still fail, He is still in control. Ultimately, His acceptance and approval are the only ones that matter. I repeat these thoughts in earnest prayer so they sink into my heart, and I feel lighter.
Stress is real, and it can be crippling. But God is in control.
I am fifty years older than Gabriella, and believe me, stress keeps popping up during each stage of life. “Getting old isn’t for sissies” is a favorite refrain of my age group! But, as Gabriella reminds us, God is in control and has determined that His power will be used for strengthening those who are called according to His purpose. That purpose is to present those who have trusted in Christ as holy and without blame before the Father. This hope of eternal life helps with today’s stresses. But, we are also favored daily with grace so that we have wisdom, strength, and good sense to deal with our present anxieties.
God’s sovereign power to save and to strengthen us is always linked in the Bible with His love and kindness. We need to think that way too. God is in control; He is loving and kind. “Ephesians” 1-3 spells all this out for us:
But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us…(Ephesians 2:4-5 KJV).
…that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height: and to know the love of Christ,…(Ephesians 3:17b-18 KJV).
The idea here is that as you are strengthened and guided through difficult times, you will not only understand more of God’s love for you, but you will actually know it, feel it, experience it.
Stress isn’t reserved just for Gabriella’s and my generations either. Samuel Rutherford wrote from his Scottish prison cell in the 1600’s to people under great stress of persecution, health issues, and the ever present death of family members:
“I know, we may say, that Christ is kindest in his love when we are at our weakest; and that if Christ had not been to the fore, in our sad days, the waters had gone over our soul.” (Samuel Rutherford, “The Loveliness of Christ,” p, 12, (Banner of Truth Publishers).
“I see that grace growth best in winter.” (Ibid.)
If it is winter at your house, feed on God’s sovereign control and bask in His love.