Stress may be a dietary supplement. It foments gastric juices, turning the stomach into a cauldron of acids able to dissolve all types of food and several metals. It incites the mind to race wildly with suppositions and imaginations far beyond reason or reality. If it could only be bottled! (It’s ironic that many look to a bottle, liquid or pill, for relief).
Paul’s solution was better: “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Paul knew stress. There was the burden of the past and his devastation in churches of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:9). There was his present persecution (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). Worse: the spiritual concerns (v. 28). How could one survive?
First, accept the process. Submit to God’s time table. Saints under extreme duress cried out “How long, O Lord… and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season” (Revelation 6:10-11). We only see now; God sees all.
Second, don’t dwell in the past. Our modern psycho-babblers encourage us to delve deeply into our psyche in order to unearth latent, suppressed memories. Our Lord says: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34).
Third, pursue righteousness (Matthew 6:33). With enough todays lived correctly, our yesterdays will be much less burdensome.
Finally, set a goal. Life is meaningless without clear purpose. Ours should be service to God with an anticipation of Heaven (Philippians 2:13).
Stress is one of the few ailments that falls entirely into the self-inflicted category. We can allow ourselves to be inundated and overcome or we can remedy this infirmity by following God’s advice: forget yesterday, live righteously today, and let God take care of tomorrow.