It is getting to the point where each morning I am anticipating a screaming headline about another man-made or natural catastrophe. Hurricanes, earthquakes, shootings, accidents, lawsuits, accusations and turmoil have become our daily bread and butter. A 24/7 news cycle only perpetuates the anguish, tension and stress. Is there any wonder so many people are angry, bitter and depressed?
When the world around us appears to be unstable and unpredictable it is normal to search for something, anything that can provide even a temporary refuge. It may be coincidental however I believe there is a correlation between the general feeling of helplessness and malaise with the rise in the misuse of drugs and alcohol. Artificial stimulants after all can mask reality and provide comfort albeit only as long as the artificial high is sustained. When these stimulants fail, the depression and anxiety can often lead to violence, inward through cutting and suicide and outward through the madness such as we witnessed in Las Vegas.
When I was a young man I often allowed my emotions to rise and fall with the whipsaw of life. The highs and lows were a repeat performance. As long as I was riding a high life was enjoyable, to the point that I made foolish decisions and choices because I felt that I was invincible. During the lows I lashed out at friends and family and sought various temporary pleasures to distract myself from the fear and pain and anxiety.
It got to where I could never even enjoy the highs anymore because I started to dread the inevitable fall. I would start to anticipate the lows and wonder whether THIS was the day that my luck would change. It was not a great way to live.
After I found Christ I began to understand that it is foolish to trust that the world can offer security, stability and personal peace. Humans are fallen so why should I expect that a person, institution, or man-made idea can ever provide true comfort? This realization did two things for me: (1) it helped me to be more gracious, merciful and understanding in my interactions with people around me, and (2) I stopped looking for comfort in material things. Instead I learned to “shed my skin” when I am confronted with stress and anxiety over something…like an outer coat I mentally remove it and then I lay it at His feet and pray that He will take the pain from me while giving me peace.
I would like to say this works every time but it doesn’t because I still fight the urge to shed the coat and trust. However I can honestly say that when I am able to do this I almost immediately feel peace and calm flow over me. It is as if the Father is saying to me, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this for you.”
I know that many of you are facing struggles, some that may be enormous and burdensome. It may be work related, it might be your family or perhaps it is a health problem. Managing the stress of these issues are keeping you awake at night, filling you with dread and maybe even physical pain and suffering from headaches, joint aches, back problems, or the malaise that comes with severe depression. Try to gather the courage to give it over and let go. Imagine the burden as a great heavy coat and then remove it and lay it down at His feet. Pray for peace and calm and ask Him to handle it for you. If you can do this successfully you may learn what I learned, that the real rock and foundation upon which you can build a healthy, happy and successful life is the one built on faith in God. Good luck and God Bless You!
Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Colossians 3:15
The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 2 John 1:3
Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4