Stress versus Trust

This has been a stress week.  Not just for me, though I am certainly included, but for many of my friends.  Pregnant friends.  Relocated friends.  Friends with a challenging discovery on a mammogram.  Friends with jobs and kids and holidays all crashing in on them.

Yesterday, I received this email from a dear Godly friend of mine who is super stressed out, with good cause: “I tell you what, God is really working on how I handle frustration right now.  It is the lesson that is LOOMING in my mind constantly – how I HAVE to give Him room to work instead of riding the tidal wave of my feelings.  It’s really hard though.  I want to so badly be changed, but there is still part of me that just wants to rage because I feel so helpless sometimes.  That’s my spiritual challenge right now – the purging of the rage and letting God put His spirit in there instead.  It feels like climbing Mount Everest.”

Don’t you know that feeling?  Haven’t you screamed out: God, this is all I can take.  I really want to trust you and have faith that you are going to transform this situation in a way I can’t imagine, but trying to just relinquish my stress and worry feels like it would be as hard as climbing Mt. Everest!  And honestly, I’m a little worried you’re not going to come through…

As I ingested these stress e-mails and calls and conversations, and had my own, I continued reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts.  She describes a scene where their family farm is on the verge of foreclosure and she is deeply worried.  Her husband could tell she was stressed just by looking at her toes which were unconsciously crimped up tightly.  As she describes her long-standing trust issues with God, she shares what He is revealing to her:

Stress isn’t only a joy stealer.  The way we respond to it can be a sin.  I stand in the laundry room looking out at the barn, knowing that stress stands in direct opposition to what He directly, tenderly commands.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me” (John 14:1).  I know an untroubled heart relaxes, trusts, leans assured into His ever-dependable arms.  Trust, it’s the antithesis of stress.  “Oh, the joys of those who can trust the Lord” (Psalm 40:4).  But how to learn to trust like that?  I’ve got to get this thing, what it means to trust, to gut-believe in the good touch of God toward me, because it’s true. I can’t fill with joy until I learn how to trust: “May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow” (Romans 15:13).  The full life, the one spilling joy and peace, happens only as I come to trust the caress of the Lover, Lover who never burdens His children with shame or self-condemnation but keeps stroking the fears with gentle grace….Perhaps the opposite of faith is not doubt.  Perhaps the opposite of faith is fear.  To lack faith perhaps isn’t as much an intellectual disbelief in the existence of God as fear and distrust that there is a good God. 

There is an old hymn I remember singing with my grandparents.  I’ve been playing it on a loop in my head today as I work on trusting.  Leaning in to “His ever-dependable arms.”  Relying in faith that He has a plan.  Letting go of the worry that He’s not going to come through – because He is a GOOD GOD.  Even on the days it’s harder to understand the whys, He is Good.  Whether you have heard this song a million times, or never before, I hope the words touch that stressed heart of yours and uncurl your tense toes:

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Comments

  1. I came across your blog through Kelly’s Lorner. I so needed this today- I feel like if one more thing happens, I’m going to fall off of the mountain while climbing. I trust God but right now I’m weary. Thanks for the reminder to trust Him.. May go pull out the hymnal now! :)

    • Ashley – I’m so glad you came by. I honestly know what that feels like, and it gets so hard to trust in the thick of things. Will say a prayer that relief comes for you soon.

  2. I also came to your site from Kellys Korner… Thank you for the reminder that God is there ALL of the time! :)

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  1. […] the middle of that stress God continued to lead me to songs and books that pointed me to peace.  That pointed me to trust.  I kept failing, and He kept turning me around and working despite my imperfect […]

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