Stress; August 24, 2021

Luke 5:15-16 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Jesus was active in ministry but He was also active in maintaining His connection with His Father. This is actually a tension we all face. There’s a line I like very much in the song, Country Boy, made famous by John Denver: “I’d play Sally Gooden all day if I could, but the Lord and my wife wouldn’t take it very good. So I fiddle when I can and work when I should. Thank God I’m a country boy!” We all have things we need to do, things people require of us, and things we really love and/or want to do. When two or more of those factors converge on a particular activity it is a blessing indeed. As the saying goes, if you love your work, it isn’t work! One thing I really like about The Visual Bible (that in my awareness only managed to produce Matthew and Acts) is that the actor portraying Jesus, after much prayer, settled on a style that shows Jesus as delighting in what He is doing. After all, Jesus chose to come to earth! However, that doesn’t mean He didn’t experience this tension. Of course the clearest expression of that was in the Garden of Gethsemane, but I think this shows it as well. Living and traveling with a group of 12 guys of dubious spiritual maturity, not to mention being mobbed by people wanting to receive from Him, as it mentions here, it’s no wonder He needed to get away often to have time alone with the Father. We can do no better than to copy Him, including in this area of taking time alone with God. I talk about daily devotions a good bit, and with good reason. It’s the only way we can keep our heads on straight! It has rightly been said that stress is a given for anything that is alive, so our only option is learning how to deal with it. Getting our marching orders from our Creator is certainly the best answer.

Like everyone else, I live with this constantly. I would have “popped a circuit breaker” many years ago if I hadn’t developed a strong habit of personal devotions. I know pastors who only read the Bible when they are preparing sermons, and I don’t see how they live! For several months Cathy and I have been feeling a build-up of stress of various sorts, so today we’re going to a hot-springs resort hotel for two nights. We had hoped to do this last week, but the hotel we would have preferred is closed at the moment because of COVID, and we had to choose another (more expensive) option. Cathy has been asking me what I want to do during this time, but my biggest answer is simply that I do NOT want to do what we do here every day! It’s not at all that I feel my life is bad, but I’m in need of a real change of pace. The past few days have been a fitting build-up to this, with one mechanical failure after another in things we use, and yesterday was something of a climax to that, before a particular issue was resolved. We will be getting away, but we will also be doing ministry, and if the person involved in that makes a breakthrough, it will be more than worth the expense of the hotel! The point is to keep growing, to keep drawing closer to my Lord and learning from Him, so that His plans and purposes for me may be fulfilled.

Father, thank You for all of this, Thank You for the extremely stressful day yesterday, and that we will be able to get away today. I ask for wisdom in the various things we need to get done this morning before we leave. May we indeed grow in resting, relaxing, and rejoicing in You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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