Faith in a Time of Stress
By Eric Davis, Washington Conference associate treasurer
Have you ever been extremely stressed about a problem in your life, only to find out later that there was no need to worry at all? My wife, Ashley, is currently going back to school full-time to become a nurse practitioner, but has also decided to work 30 hours a week at the same time. As you can imagine, her life is quite busy and for someone who strives to achieve her best, the stressors can be strong.
This past semester, she told me how worried she was about a B+ she had in one of her classes, even though she had A’s in everything else. Considering the amount of time she had to complete assignments and study for tests, I was quite proud of her! I know that when she graduates and starts her new work responsibilities, her patients will not ask her about that one grade; they will only want to know if she received her diploma!
The Bible is filled with stories of individuals who encountered struggles, and after a study of each, it is plain to see that peoples’ reactions vary as greatly as the problems themselves. For instance, David ran to meet his “giant” problem head-on while Jonah decided to flee in the opposite direction after God called him to speak to the people of Ninevah. Likewise, Caleb and Joshua stood firm on their decision to enter the promised land, even when their fellow spies doubted God’s power.
On the other hand, the disciples were frightened by the winds and waves they saw around them, even after seeing Jesus remain calm in the situation. We should take note, however, that God worked mighty miracles in each of these instances no matter how each individual reacted: Goliath was killed, Jonah was kept alive in the fish, the Israelites won many battles, and Jesus calmed the storm.
The level of faith that each individual displayed in no way changed what God was able to do when challenges arose, but I’m sure it affected their stress levels! We all know that God wants us to increase our faith, but sometimes we forget WHY He wants us to increase it. He doesn’t want us to strengthen our trust in Him for His own gain. He wants us to increase our faith because He knows we won’t be as worried about struggles that Satan throws into our lives.
Ellen White in Patriarchs and Prophets, page 294 says it this way:
Do we well to be thus unbelieving? Why should we be ungrateful and distrustful? Jesus is our friend; all of Heaven is interested in our welfare; and our anxiety and fear grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
As we go through life, let us remember that our Heavenly Father has all the answers, and that He is our greatest stress reliever. The more we trust in Him, the less we will worry!