• Rev. Mark Tews

Finding Peace in the Chaos

None of us have ever dealt with stress or fear, right? Well, we all know that’s not true. Maybe you haven’t dealt with stress or fear today. But it seems that over this past year, stress and fear have become as much a part of our lives as breathing and eating. The old adage, “Nothing is certain in life but death and taxes.” could probably be modified to “Nothing is certain in life but stress, death, and taxes.” If we would share our burdens with the Lord and trust in Him, then we would find peace in the midst of our chaos, a peace that surpasses all understanding. The following Scripture passages could be called the “Antidotes for the Crazy Life”: Psalms 3:6, 27:1–3, 56:3–4, 56:11, 78:53, and 118:6.

All of us deal with stress and fear at some point in our lives. Sometimes they can become so severe that it severely impacts our wellbeing, leading to anxiety attacks, poor food habits, insomnia, lack of motivation, and so on. We need to take a moment to look at God’s wisdom for getting our lives back in balance. He can and will help us live healthier and happier lives. We must only trust in Him and lay our burdens on Him. The Psalms above are simple reminders of the truths about our God who loves us all and wants good things for us.

It’s important to acknowledge that a small degree of stress is good. The term for this is “eustress.” This is the kind of stress that causes us to get out of the road when a car is coming or to run when something is chasing us. Eustress can be the motivation that drives us to take care of ourselves and our families. However, like so many other things, any type of stress can go too far, even to the point of becoming debilitating fear. A lesson to be learned is that stress is something that we have to control, not something that we allow to control us. The more important lesson for us to learn, however, is that we often forget to do this because we do not take our stress to the Lord. That lesson is repeated in the Bible over and over again when God says, “I am with you, always.”

The Biblical solution for stress is not “To-Do Lists” or life coaches, it’s a God who is always with us. God tells us, “Do not be afraid!” well over 100 times in the Bible; Jesus Himself said it 25 times to His disciples! Jesus only gave the great commandments to love God and your neighbor 8 times! Lesson: Don’t be afraid! We don’t have to be stressed or fearful because God is with us, always. “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Don’t misunderstand the message here: God is not saying that our lives will be stress-free. The message is not that God will just take care of all your problems. Rather, He will be with us and help us through them. No matter what happens, God can take the worst situation and, through His amazing work, redeem it and make something good out of it.

Psalm 56 was written by David before he was king. He had already been anointed and named as future king, but did not yet hold the position. When King Saul learned this, he did what so many powerful kings do: he went after David’s life. David fled and ended up exiled in the land of his enemies, faced with an impossible decision: should he stay and be surrounded on all sides by enemy Philistines or leave and be caught by Saul? You can easily imagine the stress that plagued David. So, what did he do? David asked God for help and He provided. We too can ask for God’s help.

How many times have we called on God when we were stressed? When we consider how many times God promises to be with us, most of us would answer, ‘not nearly enough.’ David wrote, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22). It’s not easy to say and believe such things when you find yourself in the midst of great stress. However, even with a price on his head and exiled in the land of his enemies, David knew what he needed to do. He called on God who promised to be with him and sustain him, through the greatest of trials.

Christians believe in a God who sent His only Son to die for us so that we wouldn’t have to die forever. And yet, we so often insist that we have to have all the power. We have to be the ones to do things and have to do them right. We have to be the ones to bear the burdens of the latest problem or family crisis. But hear this: part of believing in a God who is much more powerful than we could ever imagine is having the faith to turn all our burdens over to Him. Part of following God’s Will is having faith that He will never leave us nor forsake us, even when everything is going wrong in our lives. God’s promise is that if we can have the faith to trust that He is with us, then we will know a peace that would not otherwise be possible, a peace so complete that it cannot be explained. A peace so wonderful, it surpasses all understanding.

Doesn’t that sound amazing? I want that kind of peace. I don’t want to be completely stressed and fearful all the time. I want to know that when things really get tough, there’s a place I can go for help. And that place is my God to whom I can call for help, knowing He will answer me. David knew such a peace, even while surrounded by his enemies. That’s why David says over and over again that he worships and praises God and that he will bring offerings of thanksgiving, because he trusts in God who saved him. Why be stressed or fearful? Ask yourself the same question David wrote: “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:6).

There’s an old hymn you may find familiar, with this verse: “Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand. The soul that on Jesus still leans for repose, I will not, I will not desert to its foes; that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake.”

This is God’s promise: He will never forsake you. Pray to Him and have faith in Him. It is that promise that will give us the strength that we need to face anything, every day. Anything. FEAR NOT! And believe.