February 23, 2020
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, How to Handle Stress.
The days are too long, the nights too short, there’s too much to do and not enough time. Do you feel like the chief rat in the rat race? A verifiable 89% of all Americans from time to time suffer from chronic stress syndrome. One company was having such a problem with their executive team, they brought in a consulting firm to find out why. They found that 21 of the 22 executives in this company were suffering from such stress, which was causing physical illness—ulcers, high blood pressure, and depression.
But not just executives suffer from stress. Youth doesn’t give you immunity. Anyone at any age, teenagers, and children included these days, can fall prey to pressure and need to de-stress.
It’s a fact that 75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are due to stress-related disorders and illnesses. We are emotionally fatigued, physically drained, and spiritually defeated due to stress. Stress not only kills your enjoyment of life; but you’re also more vulnerable to attacks from the devil. You’re more prone to argue over little things. Minor irritations become mountains when you’re stressed
The difference between the two is what creates stress.
On one side are all our responsibilities, demands of life, opportunities, and things we want to do and ought to do. On the other side are our inabilities, faults, weaknesses, and sinfulness. We say, “I want to, I ought to—but I can’t.” Our ensuing frustration brings stress upon stress.
Does this sound familiar? Are you drained? Do you hear yourself saying, “I just can’t go on!”
Thank God, He will help us de-stress.
God tells us in His Word what He will do when we’re stressed if we will only listen and follow His direction.
Get the picture of our great God, who never slumbers or sleeps because He doesn’t need to:
“The King Eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God” (1 Timothy 1:17)
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:11-12
He dwells in inaccessible light, all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present. We stand in our weakness and lack of strength. What’s the answer? Where’s our help?
The answer starts with a question. Isaiah, the prince of prophets, wrote:
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31
God never gives out, never tires, never stresses. You say, “I’m weak. I’m out of strength. I’m done.” He promises: “To the weak, He gives power; our great God will renew your strength.”
The Hebrew word for “renew” actually means “exchange.” We give Him our weakness; He give us His strength.
“Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10
“I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20
The Christian life is not only a changed life, it is an exchanged life. And 1 Chronicles 29:12 declares it is in God’s hand to make great and give strength to all. God holds the answer for your stress. It’s not a sin to be stressed, but it is a sin for help to be available, and you not avail yourself of that help.
In Isaiah 40:28-31 God makes three promises—but wait—they are conditional upon one thing from you. First, the promises:
In rugged times, we will be able to fly like an eagle, who only flies swifter, stronger, higher when flying in a storm. We all have storms. We all know adversity. But the faster the wind blows, we can soar on the wind if we are longing for, listening to, and looking at the Lord.
We think sometimes God is cruel when God is kind. The storms of life that come to you may be the things God brings to you to deliver you, help you, and cause you to rise higher.
In the rush of life, we can run like an athlete. There’s enough time in every day to do everything God wants you to do. Note that qualifier: everything God wants you to do.
In Acts chapter 8, a man “of great authority under Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury” was reading in Isaiah about the coming Messiah but not understanding who Isaiah was talking about. The Holy Spirit told Philip exactly where the man was and said, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” Philip was no runner, but with the Holy Spirit’s strength, he ran and caught up with him (v. 29-30). The Ethiopian not only came to know the Lord Jesus and was baptized, but he also took the Gospel back to his homeland.
In routine times, we’ll have the strength to keep walking day by day. This is where we fail because it’s where we live most of the time.
It’s one thing to soar like an eagle or surge like an athlete, but it’s another to stay faithful, day by day, in the little things. How often the Bible reminds us that the Christian life is a daily walk. “As your days, so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).
Victory isn’t some spectacular event. Victory is getting breakfast for the kids, dressing them, getting them to school, going to work, cleaning the house, carrying out the garbage. It’s daily Bible study…your quiet time…prayer. It’s visiting the sick, being sweet to your spouse. It’s all day, every day, good days, bad days, walking the Christian life. If you can be a Christian at home, you can be a Christian anywhere. If you can’t be a Christian at home, you’re going to fail everywhere.
What’s the Condition I Have to Meet? You Must Wait upon the Lord.
Where do you get this strength? How can you fly like an eagle? Run like an athlete? Day by day meet life’s stresses? By waiting upon the Lord. That’s the key to everything. If you miss this, the rest doesn’t matter!
Waiting isn’t sitting and doing nothing. What does a waiter or waitress do? Do they just sit there? No, they say, “Can I help? What would you like? I’m here to serve you.” When you wait upon the Lord, you serve. You’re waiting upon Him.
Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation.(Psalm 62:1)
David wrote this in a time of stress and distress. He knew only God could satisfy his deepest need. Do you know that yet? Are you saying, “Lord, I long for You. I want You, God.” If all you want is relief without wanting God, forget it.
Blessed is the man who listens to Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at the posts of My doors. (Proverbs 8:34)
You’re saying, “Lord, I’m hoping You’re going to come out that gate soon and You’ll have some instruction for me. I’m waiting, Lord, for You to speak to me.” This is talking about a quiet time. You must have a quiet time alone with God, watching daily at His gates. Do you do that? Are you tuned in to the Lord? If not, don’t tell me Isaiah 40:28-31 won’t work.
These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season. (Psalm 104:27)
The beasts and birds of the forest look to Him for their food in due season. Do you believe God is going to take care of you? Are you looking to Him? That’s more than a rhetorical question; it’s meant to hit you right between the eyes. Do you believe God can meet your needs, or are you looking somewhere else?
Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; So he who waits on his master will be honored.(Proverbs 27:18)
To wait upon God means to long for Him, to listen to Him, to look to Him, and to live for Him. I promise you, on the authority of this book, that if you will wait upon Him, God will renew your strength.
That gap you feel between all the things you need to do, ought to do, must do, coupled with your weakness, inability, and frustration will be removed. He will take your nothingness and infuse it with His almightiness when you learn to wait upon Him.