What does the Bible say about stress?
Stress is a common emotion we feel on our day to day walk in life. Stress often stems from worrying about the things God has already promised us, but we cannot see them in the moment. Stress stems from our constant worrying about the things of tomorrow.
How will I be able to eat tomorrow, for I only have enough food today?
How will I be able to afford new clothes, as the clothes I have now are worn and dirty?
What will I do about these overdue bills?
My car is on its last leg, but I have no money to get it fixed.
For many, the worry list goes on and on.
So, how do we overcome the obstacle of stress when tangibly we cannot see a way?
The Bible tells us how to overcome stress so that instead of being a victim to it, we can conquer it. The Bible gives us clear insight, instruction, and strength.
Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Matthew 6:27 says “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
In these specific passages, God gives us insight on how stress impacts us. He shows us that stress adds no increase or value to our lives. In addition, research shows that stress actually diminishes our life span. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare looked at lifestyle factors that shortened the life expectancy of 30-year-old men and found that stress could reduce lifespan by a total of 2.8 years.
Worrying or stressing over a situation has no benefit to our body, but there is a silver lining.
Stress is the check engine light that says something is not working properly. If we allow it, stress can point us to self examination and reflection. Through practices such as prayer, journaling, and sharing feelings with a trusted friend or counselor, we may realize that our faith is being tested and that God wants to show us His power in the situation. James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Through this insight from the Bible, we see that perseverance through faith can lead to unmovable faith; thus, reducing stress as we lean on God for His strength.
Throughout the Bible God instructs and encourages us to be strong.
Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”. We can take comfort in these words because no matter our situation or our levels of stress, the Lord is with us. We can’t escape the afflictions of the world, but God shows us through the Bible that we have the strength to overcome. This strength comes through prayer which brings peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When we submit to the will of God and apply our faith and obedience to what He has spoken through His word, we are able to receive His peace.
A peace that offers us acceptance of our situation.
A peace that comes with understanding that the Lord will use this circumstance, whether caused by our disobedience or situations out of our control, to grow our faith.
A peace that we receive as we humble ourselves so that God may move freely without the limitations we place on Him through our lack of understanding of the Sovereign Lord.
A peace that comes from knowing that even though the ‘answer’ doesn’t seem apparent, God, who always answers prayer, can be trusted to resolve this issue too!
For over 40 years, Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) has been working to heal communities and transform lives. Jesus’ ministry on earth revealed that he cares for the whole person. He was moved by people’s spiritual and physical pain. At MAI we strive to follow the example Jesus set for holistic healing. We use a development process called Community Health Evangelism (abbreviated CHE; pronounced chay; in some countries, depending on the context the program, is referred to as Community Health Education or Community Development Education) that addresses the needs of the whole person – physical, spiritual, emotional, and social.
CHE is a holistic development strategy that equips and empowers people to use problem-solving techniques to meet needs they have recognized in their own communities. Overcoming stress and trauma are two of the many issues that CHE addresses through over 10,000 lessons.
At present MAI works in 2,674 communities around the world impacting a population of over 2.98 million people in 75 countries, including many third-world countries.
According to WHO, World Health Organization, 80% of those suffering from mental disorders reside in third-world countries. Unfortunately, 73% of suicides in the world occur in developing countries. There are many connections between third-world countries and mental illness. Some of these include common circumstances such as losing or not having access to stable essential resources like income, employment, housing, etc.
Also, economic insecurity makes living situations extremely difficult. This can induce stress and lead to depression, which explains how depression is considered the most common mental health disorder in developing countries. Wars and natural disasters such as tsunamis and famines are also leading factors of mental illnesses.
God is using MAI to bring hope and healing from stress and trauma to people who have little or no access to services through CHE and the good news of the Gospel.
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