The last several weeks have been tough on many people. For whatever reasons, and there are many, folks are going through a ton of stress right now. In several cases, it is financial – people who have lost their jobs, or their businesses are struggling. Partnerships that were thought to be strong are falling apart, or there is not enough business to sustain a long term effort. Or leadership is struggling with how to grow, or, or, or …….. In other cases, it is grieving the loss of a loved one – like the family of my friend Roger, and all the adjustments the family is starting to make.
Or how about the deaths of the two employees of the firm I have been counseling since last Wednesday? Those folks are struggling as well. Not only the families of those who have passed, but the co-workers as well. And I know of at least one case where a marriage is falling apart, and this week-end the decision was made to end it.
Several other families are struggling with internal private issues. The pain of watching a teenage child in distress, or in another case, a teenager with cancer. All in all, there is stress all around us.
In our own family, as you know, Janet fractured her finger Monday, and surgery is scheduled for Thursday at 12:15 pm. We are praying that things go well, and that God will direct the surgeon’s hand to restore full use of Janet’s finger – even though we know the process will be slow and recovery will take all summer, at the least. And we are not the only family with physical issues right now – there are many others.
Frankly, when we feel stress, most of us look for solutions to solve our problems. Our default response is to try and control the situation – becoming more dominant, or trying to manipulate the circumstances to prevent a sub-optimal outcome. How does that sound for minimizing our feelings? But the first thing we should do is to stop in our tracks, and pray that God would direct our steps, and our response. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, many of us forget that God is still on the throne; and we rely on our own understanding to get us through. That’s the wrong answer –
I remember when our kids were in grammar school and they learned about what to do if they would ever get caught in a fire – stop, drop and roll. Remember? Well, we would do well to try the same approach – stop, drop and pray! And then proceed with a divine plan, inspired by the Lord Himself. The verse this evening is an oldie, but goodie, from Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” And rest for our souls is just what we need.
Bill Hybels, Founding Pastor of Willow Creek Church, in Barrington, IL, once wrote a great book, entitled, “Too Busy Not To Pray.” Ain’t it the truth? We feel so consumed with solving our problems that we forget to take time and thank the Lord for our blessings; and ask for His divine guidance in taking care of the solutions to our current problems.
So, tonight, my encouragement is to turn your problems over to God, and let it ride. Because we can’t really change the outcomes of our issues without the help of God. When we became Christians, we asked Jesus to become the Lord of our lives and we entrusted our lives to Him. When things get tough, we must remember the commitment we made and remain loyal and steadfast to our Savior. That includes going to Him for help and guidance. My prayer this evening is that you will pray for God’s divine wisdom and peace in helping you to arrive at a solution. And remember that Christ invites us share the yoke with Him. He has unlimited capacity to deal with our issues, and we are assured that whatever we ask for in His name will be granted – so our prayers must be consistent with the will of God. But we don’t know if they are if we don’t ask! So ask God, and turn your problems over to Him. You’ll be glad you did…. Have a great day!