Listen to anyone for a while and usually the word “stressed” will come up. Their job, family situation, a relationship, a deadline – something brings stress and we talk about it maybe hoping in some way that sharing it with others will alleviate the stress. And sometimes it does, sometimes it’s more that misery enjoys company ! You won’t find the word “stress” in the KJV though the IDEA is pervasive there. Words like “distress”, “tightness”, “anguish”, and of course “trouble” all speak to what we term, “stress”. Poor Martha brought it on herself when she complained to Jesus about her sister Mary not helping her in the kitchen, Lk.10:40. I’d wager to say that Joseph felt stressed when thrown into a pit and sold into slavery by his brothers too.
We become stressed due to “the PERCEPTION (operative word here) that events have challenged or exceeded our ability to cope” is how one dictionary puts it. Paul gave us some good help when we get stressed out in Romans 5. The basic idea as he starts this chapter is that no matter what comes into our life we can always find reason to rejoice, even when stressed ! How? #1- As a Christian, YOU have been “justified by faith”, that is when you believed, God looks at you now just as if you’d never sinned ! “Therefore being justified by faith, WE (insert your name when stressed) HAVE PEACE WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ” !!! (5:1) You may be having a rough day, but you are alright with God now !
#2- As a Christian, YOU have access to God ! “by Whom (Jesus) also we have access. . .” (5:2). Things may be so trying you feel like a blueberry in a freshly made pancake (sorry I just had breakfast, and I wish it had been pancakes) but YOU can come boldly into the throne of grace and PRAY about your situation knowing He delights to hear the prayers of His children !
And #3 Paul continues to say in verse 3 after these two helps: “And not only so, but we glory (the idea of rejoice) in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience” !! In short, Paul’s saying “Bring it on baby !!” BECAUSE stress is going to take this old lump of coal and make a diamond. So he looked not just at his stressful conditions, he was focused on what God was able to do THROUGH them. Are you? Maybe you’re weighed down by a lot of stuff right now, so remember who you are child of God and Who you can talk to about it and then what He intends to do through it, which when looked at that way you can REALLY be like Paul here and GLORY !! Try these next time your stressed, they actually work because it’s part of God’s remedy for stress !!