When Broken by Stress
For reading & meditation - Psalms 71
"You have let me sink down deep in desperate problems. But you will bring me back to life again, up from the depths of the earth!" (v. 20, TLB)
Another major cause for brokenness in human life is stress. Often I get letters from people saying something like this: "I feel I am on the verge of a breakdown. No one thing seems to be responsible for it, but I just can't cope. My doctor says I am suffering from stress. Can the Bible
meet this need?" I am bold to say that it can. God can take a person overcome by stress and build into their lives insights which will enable them to live above and beyond its paralyzing grip. What exactly is "stress"? One doctor defines it as "wear and tear on the personality which, if uncorrected, can result in a physical or mental breakdown." Donald Norfolk, a British osteopath who has made a special study of stress, claims that it comes from two main causes: too little change, or too much change. To function at peak efficiency, we all need a certain amount of change. However, when changes come too fast for us to cope with, the personality is put under tremendous stress. Dr. Thomas H. Holmes measures stress in terms of "units of change " For example, the death of a loved one measures 100 units, divorce 73 units, pregnancy 40 units, moving or altering a home 25 units, and Christmas 12 units. His conclusion is that no one can handle more than 300 units of stress in a twelve- month period without suffering physically or emotionally during the next two years. Holmes, of course, was speaking from a strictly human point of view - with God "all things are possible."
Father, You have taught me much on how to turn my weaknesses into strengths. Teach me now how to handle stress. I cannot change my surroundings - but I can change my attitude. Help me to do this. For Jesus' sake. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What was Jesus' response to Martha?
2. How did it differ from His response to Mary?