I wake up miserable. There are problems—problems I’m responsible for. Problems my brain tried to fix with an all-night tossing and turning episode. Problems I’m feeling powerless to solve. I feel like I need to figure out how to relieve stress.
Stress keeps piling, and it’s barely morning.
So, I head to my back porch with coffee in one hand and the Bible App in the other, my favorite way to start a day.
Then, I’m sipping on coffee and reading about ancient Egypt, when words begin to leap off my phone and rattle my perspective. In Isaiah 31, I read about Egypt’s wildly intimidating military prowess. Any leader who opposed Egypt felt small, inept, and powerless. I can identify.
Here’s Isaiah 31:1 MSG.
Doom to those who go off to Egypt
thinking that horses can help them,
Impressed by military mathematics,
awed by sheer numbers of chariots and riders—
And to The Holy of Israel, not even a glance,
not so much as a prayer to God.
Suddenly, it hits me. It’s not my problem that’s stressing me out. I’m stressed out by this realization: I can’t relieve stress on my own. Like an ancient king trying to muster up the courage to face a mighty Egypt, like a LifeGroup leader trying to help a failing marriage, like a mentor who doesn’t know what to say, my problem is too complicated and too big for me.
But God says, “Hey, I can do anything. Let Me handle it.”
How often do I live like this is true? My ability—your ability—is limited. God’s is not. Still we try to reach beyond our limitations into the little-sleep-lots-of-stress zone. We look harder to find the ultimate tool, discover a bullet-proof method, muster false strength, or simply ignore what we can’t fix. Even worse we go to unhealthy addictions to relieve stress.
There is another way. It still involves our effort, all of it really, but it requires us to realize our limits and rely on God’s boundless strength and power. Some trust in horses, some trust in chariots, but I’m going to trust in God (Psalm 20:7). Try it. It works.