How do you handle stress or bad news? I’m the type of person who replays the situation over and over in my head trying to find a solution. Each time that I don’t find one, the stress seems to get heavier. I begin to feel tired, but I can’t sleep because I’m too worked up. I try to think of something else, but I can’t. My mind fixated on the problem and all of its consequences. I even start to question myself as to why I wasn’t prepared for this. I keep concentrating on the problem until I remember that God knows the answer.
To help my mind make the shift, I play praise and worship music. I love how it invites the presence of God into the place where I am, and how it shifts my attention from how big the problem is to how big God is. From deep within me, I begin to thank God for all He has done in my life, for all He has provided and for all He is going to do. As I do that, i give the responsibility of finding the solution over to Him. I don’t have to have control of the situation or my future because it’s in His hands.
I know that’s easier said than done, but the truth is He is more capable of working out His will in my life than I am. He is able to use whatever it is that’s stressing me out for my good. By giving it to Him, I release myself of the stress of having to find a solution and the fear of making the wrong choice. I spend time reminding God of all the times in my life when He has intervened or taken what I thought was a bad thing and turned into something good. The power of praise and prayer changes everything.
David knew that. In Psalm 30:4 he wrote, “Sing praise to the Lord, all his faithful people! Remember what the Holy One has done, and give him thanks!” (GNT) He then reminds us that mourning may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. We don’t have to fear what tomorrow will bring when we place it in a His hands. When we learn to pray and give praise in these times, we can wake up joyful because we are trusting our unknown future to the God we know.
Photo by Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash
If you are like me, worry has a tendency to creep in from time to time. I look at the future, and my mind begins to play scenario after scenario of what might happen. Usually, it’s always the worst case scenarios. I begin to stress and then get worried to the point that it keeps me up and dominates my thoughts. My worry comes from not knowing what the future holds. I like to plan and prepare, and when I can’t do that, stress takes over.
Worry also comes from a lack of trust in God. When I get overly anxious, it means that I don’t trust God with my future. Sometimes we are good at giving Him our past and our present, but struggle to give Him our future. God knows what your future holds, and He’s even planned it out. He is not going to be surprised by what happens in your life or how each situation will unfold. That’s why we’ve got to learn to trust Him when it comes to our future.
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (NLT). It’s not God’s responsibility to relieve you of your worry. It’s your responsibility to trust Him with your future, and to give it to Him. It’s quite a release to hand the burden of the unknown off to Him. I can tell you that I’d rather give up my stress than my sleep. I found a way to do that by learning to trust God with the unknown.
Releasing the burden of the unknown takes you praying, “God, i don’t know what the future holds, but you do. I’m going to trust that your plan for my life is better than my plan. I give you my future. I release it to you. I don’t want to carry this burden anymore. Please take it and help me to trust you more.” When I prayed that prayer and meant it, my worry left. When it tried to come back, I told it to talk to God because my future was in His hands. Doing that repeatedly, until it was ingrained in my mind, is how I was released from the worry and stress of the burden of the unknown.
Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
Have you ever noticed that the in depth weather report is at the end of the news? They might bring them out early to give you a tease about the weather, but they won’t give specifics until later in the broadcast. I’ve read many times that the weather is the most watched part of the news. I’ve always wondered why. They’re rarely right. The rest of the news is a presentation of facts that have happened and the weather is a prediction of what will happen. We are intrigued with possibilities and predictions more than the past.
I also think it’s interesting that the opposite is true when it comes to the Bible. We are more concerned with what’s happened than with what will happen. I would venture to say that Revelation is probably the least read book in the Bible. We care about the future of the weather, but not the future of mankind. I understand it’s very cryptic and hard to follow at times because a man two thousand years ago was trying to describe the world of technology and advancement like what we live in.
Another reason I think people steer clear of it is fear. We fear what we don’t understand.we fear the wars and plagues that are coming. I’m convinced that God did not give John the Revelation to make us afraid, but to inspire hope and to give us peace. As believers, the book of Revelation reveals the final steps before spending eternity with Jesus. It is a reminder that no matter how bad things get in the world or in your life, God knows ahead of time what’s going to happen and that He and those with Him will be victorious.
I get hope in knowing that no matter what comes my way, God knew it in advance and has prepared me for it. He is not like the weather reporter who guesses at the future. He knows with certainty what will happen. We can trust His promise in Deuteronomy 31:8 that says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (NLT) He knew we would be afraid of what the future holds. He knew that we would need Him right there with us so he made us that promise.
Another promise I hold onto when the future is uncertain is Isaiah 43:2. It says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Jesus even told us that in this world we would have trouble. He told us that hard times were coming. He then said, “I have told you all this (the future) so that you may have peace in me.” We don’t have to be afraid of the uncertainties ahead. Pray that God will give you peace and courage to move ahead