The stressful onslaught never seems to end. Someone’s holiday’s plan offends another. Failure of others to social distance or wear a mask increase nervousness. Uncertainty increases thus threatening future security. Need I continue? And this might just be the small stuff.
Scripture provides a remedy for such anxious living. Our tendency when encountering stressful situations can involve narrowing our focus. That might be good if we were a big cat focusing upon a gazelle on the savanna.
However, if we narrow our vision so that the horizons of our mind are preoccupied with this world’s worries we will lose our greatest source of hope. Biblical stories abound where some people allowed their minds to become overwhelmed with the here and now, while others persisted with a greater vision.
For ten of the spies who explored Canaan, they became fixated upon walled cities and tall warriors. On the other hand, Joshua and Caleb embraced a larger perspective where the God of Israel promised to deliver the land into Israel’s hands.
The swelling rumors that the kings Pekah and Resin had joined forces to squash Ahaz, king of Judah, terrified him causing him to shake like a leaf. While Ahaz became consumed with impending armies, God’s message through Isaiah revealed God would overthrow the enemy, if Ahaz would firmly trust in God (Isaiah 7:2-9).
Jesus told a parable about a man who taught God’s word to others. For some who heard the message this world with its cares and worries strangled the good news causing it to become impotent in their lives. However, others who lived under the same stresses chose a higher vision. They did not limit the horizon of their focus to the immediate problems. They relied upon God, his power and love to impact and shape their lives for his purposes. We call this story the Parable of the Sower. God’s message bore fruit in their lives.
From the beginning of time until now, human life has experienced a myriad of stresses and concerns. Time has not changed this. Lives however can be forever changed, if people will open their vision to allow God to be at the center of life.
A few scriptures jump to mind:
Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1,2
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18,19
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20,21
Life will always present ups and downs. It is our choice whether we choose to center our focus solely upon the problems at hand or whether we allow our vision to perceive the Creator.