As the summer draws to a close and vacations are behind us, thoughts of returning to everyday life may seem overwhelming. Or perhaps you never got a break from your normal routine. But, whether you had the chance to get away or not, the reality is that we can never fully escape stress. It’s anunavoidable consequence of living in a fallen, sinful world. Since we’ll undoubtedly encounter difficult situations at various points in our lives, we must learn how to deal with stress when it comes. Thankfully, the Lord understands our struggles and wants to help us.
At one point in my ministry, I was hospitalized three times in one year. I realized that my body was simply responding to the pressure I’d placed upon it by doing more than God intended. My body became so exhausted. But, God gave me the opportunity to take time off and just be with Him. In those precious times alone with God, He taught me how to trust Him in trying times. First of all, He showed me that the solution for stress is solitude with Him. Communing with the Lord releases the grip of anxiety and tension (Psalm 16:8). The purpose of these times with God
is not to study Scripture or to bring Him our prayer requests, but simply to be with Him. We must make a choice to voluntarily separate ourselves from others in order to connect with God. This doesn’t mean we’ll never struggle with stress again, but times alone with God teaches us to view our problems from His perspective, and to find joy in His presence (Psalm 16:11).
The practice of solitude is seen throughout the Bible. In both the old and new Testaments, men and women who walked with God made time to be with Him. For example, after a busy day of teaching, healing and feeding a multitude of 5,000, Jesus dismissed the crowd, sent His disciples away in a boat, and went up on a mountain by Himself to pray (Matthew 14:22-23). Spending time with His Father was not a sporadic event in His life, but a customary practice, especially after encountering high pressure situations. We also see this same example in the apostle Paul’s life. After His dramatic conversion, he headed to Arabia to spend time alone with His newly found Saviour (Galatians 1:17).
The second lesson God taught me was we must make a deliberate effort to find a place free of interruptions and diversions where we can hear the Lord’s voice (Mark 6:32). What distractions keep you from focusing on the Lord? Where can you go to spend time with Him uninterrupted? I find the adoration chapel in my church, a quiet room, is an ideal place for me to meet with the Lord. I realize that finding an isolated place can be a challenge for some people, but if you look for it, you will find it.
Third, we must realize that God longs to spend time alone with us. He created us in His image, and He wants to have a relationship with us for all eternity (Genesis 1:26) No other creature on earth has been given this privilege. Time alone with
Him is the only way intimacy with our Creator will become a reality! It is in those quite moments alone with “The God of Peace” that all our worries, fears, and stresses drain away (Romans 15:33). If we allot unhurried times for the Lord in our busy schedules and clear our minds of all our preoccupations, we’ll enjoy sweet fellowship with Him and receive His peace in our hearts.
Fourth, solitude with the Lord also prepares us for the day ahead. That’s why time alone with Him should be a priority every morning. (Psalm 90:14). To do this, we must first spend a short period of time reading His word so our thoughts will be God‐oriented and our hearts sensitive to His presence. If we’ll begin each day this say, setting our minds and hearts on Him and listening for His voice, He will guide us throughout the day and make whatever we do an opportunity for worship. This is also the time when He will equip us to face our trials, heartaches and burdens with calm confidence, instead of frantic anxiety. It is so amazing how He prepares the way for us to accomplish whatever lies before us when we give Him the first
part of our day. First!!!
(Hope you are looking up the Scriptures I give you!)
Your Servant in Christ, With My Prayers,