Handling the Stresses of Life…
And very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35, ESV)
It’s not uncommon to feel stressed about life. We have so much coming at us, so much a day can hold. So much to juggle or figure out. Feeling stressed or overwhelmed is not uncommon.
How do you handle the stresses of life? There is no human who has ever lived that has had more or anywhere near the demands on them than Jesus did. From the time he entered this world his physical wellbeing was in danger. His enemies did not only want to harm him, but they also wanted to kill him. As he grew up, he had to deal with others skepticism about him as the Son of God, meet the demands of those who sought him for healing and to perform miracles. He had to deal with everyday life just as we do, but in addition to that he knew his heavenly Father had sent him on a mission to save the souls of every human being on earth so he had the whole world on his shoulders as Isaiah wrote in .
With all the demands and pressures Jesus faced we might be intrigued how he stayed so balanced and untroubled. The Gospels show us three things he did consistently that can keep us feeling overwhelmed with life also:
First, Jesus often made it a point to go off alone to be with the Father such as we read in Mark 1, or in Luke 5:15-16. Jesus did this often, meaning it was a practice of his. He did not allow the demands of his day or life interfere with his relationship with his heavenly Father. He stayed connected to God because he knew that is where his strength and wisdom came from.
Second, Jesus took time to get away and relax (such as when he went to the wedding in Cana or visited with his good friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany). The pharisees and teachers of the law were obsessed with how Jesus conducted his ministry, accusing him of being a party-animal. Because their righteousness was established on a false sense of righteousness and by observing the law—which they could not keep—they were always worried about public image. Jesus was Righteousness and was free to enjoy a party and enjoying the company of others. His example that life was to be lived not just endured because that is what pleases the Father in heaven.
Third, Jesus invited his closest friends to pray with him, not just for him. On the night before he died, he took the disciples with him into the garden to pray (John 13:4-5). He did not try to be strong or face the journey to the cross all by himself but called upon others to help and strengthen him. He knew he needed a community of believers and support to help him get through the ordeal ahead of him and was not ashamed to admit it. What a wonderful example for us today knowing we do not need to pretend to be superhuman or super-Saint!
Christ was intentional about the way he lived, and he addressed the stresses of life in an intentional way. There is much we can learn from him. Let’s Pray,
Jesus, thank you for your examples of how life is to be lived and how we can handle the stresses of life. May we follow in your footsteps and not only endure this life but live it in a way that is pleasing to the Father and keeps us from becoming overwhelmed. Amen
Reflective Questions and Thoughts for Examination and Soul-Tending:
How does today’s message impact you? What can you learn from the example Jesus set? How will you incorporate today’s message into your plan of self and soul-care?