Medical reports from a variety of credible sources tell us that 70-80% of hospitalized care can be traced back to stress-related causes! That’s big. That gives us something to consider, and the Bible is not silent on the issue.
Take, for example, Elijah’s situation in 1 Kings 18-19. Elijah has just experienced one of the most incredible ministry victories ever! He alone had defeated all of the prophets working for other gods, in a spectacular display of fire coming from heaven and fully consuming his sacrifice and even the surrounding water! But then the stress of it all overcame him. Have you ever been wildly successful and then found yourself in the doldrums afterwards? We know that cultural icons such as Whitney Houston can relate. Well Elijah succumbs to fear and depression and is suicidal.
God knows that good and bad stress will take their toll. In Elijah’s case it was intense. Interestingly enough, God has angels bring food to Elijah and he rests. Such a simple but effective response! Elijah then has the strength to lean in to hear the gentle voice of God, not in the wind, earthquake, or fire, but in the whisper.
What can you control in the midst of your stress and where do you need God to enter in? Can you simply change the way you eat, the amount of rest you get, or the amount of Credit union time you spend listening to God? Perhaps a step up and out of depression begins with physical factors you control. Maybe your job will kill or damage you and you courageously need to find a different one. Elijah was sent out to anoint his replacement! Or perhaps you can lean on an associate, a friend, doctor, or a counselor. Give ear to loving counsel. And, ultimately, allow yourself to be ministered to by God, just as Jesus did when he dealt with the stress of an encounter with Satan, and in his final moments before the cross.
Moment in the Mirror
To what degree does stress impact my life?
What are my first steps in dealing with it?