My stress and God’s peace
Paul was in jail. He probably had a visit from Epaphras, who had planted the congregation in Colossae. Epaphras told him about the congregation and that many of them had a skewed idea of the gospel. With this letter to the young Christians of Colossae Paul tried to give them practical guidance to stay on the right path.
I suspect this letter will help us a lot too.
As always, Paul blessed the readers, and you and me too, in the Lord’s name: 2… May everything good from God our Father be yours!
O, how we need this!
Recently, I’ve been struggling with stress. Badly. I can’t sleep and when I do fall asleep, I wake up suddenly and very early. It’s become so bad that my forearms feel paralysed by the stress. I’m praying really hard about this, but it doesn’t seem to end.
My wife handed me her handbag, but shortly thereafter took it back, and then repeated this for a number of times. I asked her if she had a problem. And then she said that this is what I was doing with my stress: I give it God and then take it back again.
That may be so. On the one hand, I’m praying really, really hard for God to take the stress away. It makes me feel totally helpless. I cannot fight it at all and that is why I must give it to God – but in a way it stays here inside me. Am I taking it back?
Peace comes from God. Paul knew this, and that is why he prayed for peace for the people of Colossae.
Are you looking for real peace, no matter how hard the storm is raging around you, sowing destruction? You can have peace inside you amidst the storm. It comes from one Person only and that is God. Only He can give real peace deep inside us. Nothing else on earth can create peace and instill it in people. No, only God can bring about real peace.
Maybe you are wondering the same as I am: If that is so, why am I struggling with stress this way? Doesn’t God want to give me peace too? Or has He forgotten about me?
No, I don’t think so. God gives it to everybody. It’s part of the goodie bag you receive when you invite God’s Spirit to come inside you. But we humans strike through the peace that God puts inside us by not meeting our responsibility. We have all these tasks that need doing, things that cause stress, we stick plasters on the hurt that takes up a lot of our time, and we turn away from our responsibilities. In a way, we leave a backdoor open for stress to come back into our lives.
Maybe we should pray a different prayer. Maybe we shouldn’t pray, Lord, please give me peace and joy, but rather, Lord, please help me get rid of the stuff that causes my stress, so that the peace You already gave me can flower in my life again.
That is what I’m going to do. I’m going to ask God to show me what is causing my stress, list them and make plans to get rid of them. Even if it is as high as a mountain, I know God will help me so that his peace can prevail again in my life!
May you experience God’s peace. But even more, may you pray God’s peace upon all the people around you.
Do you sometimes suffer from stress?
Does your peace sometimes disappear?
Do you allow God to change you?
Father, I need your peace so much. I cannot keep going with all the stress. Please help me to tackle the things that cause me to stress. Amen