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HEARTS, STRESS AND HEALTH (3)

Date: 
Monday, August 15, 2022
Bible Meditation: 
1 Samuel 30: 1-20

But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God – 1 Samuel 30:6b                               

In Christ, our HEARTS can turn DI-STRESS into STRENGTH for Sound HEALTH: Now David was greatly DISTRESSED, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God (1 Sam.30:6). It’s important to reiterate that stress is not the pressure from outside situations. Rather, it is the tension that results from internal conflicts and diverse external stressors. It is the body’s reaction to demands placed on it. This could be in the form of the mind racing, stomach churning, heart beating rapidly, or body tensed. Distress, which is more common, occurs when tension reaches the point that it harms health. Eustress occurs when one faces an exciting challenge which can trigger peak performance.                               

The world lives and works at a faster pace, while also dealing with uncertainty and change. Billions of people regularly experience physical or psychological symptoms due to stress. A top physical symptom is fatigue, while a top psychological symptom is anger or irritability. With scriptural counsel, we can make changes to address the effects of stress on overall health. Christians are not immune from the challenges of life, but can be empowered to deal with stress scripturally. Our fundamental response is to seek God at the first sign of feeling stressed. Next, we should ask questions to identify the root issue feeding the stress; and eliminate things that are not fruitful or beneficial in our lives.

We experience stress for diverse reasons, but the state of our Heart can strongly moderate how stress affects health. Specific stressors include: failure in an examination; deadlines or demands on a job, pressure to produce results by all means, higher responsibilities that come along with promotion at work; loss of job, poverty and financial insecurities; relational conflicts, separation, or divorce; barrenness, sickness in the family, awaiting medical examination or test results, surgery, death of a loved one; fear of attacks (from armed robbers, assassins, kidnapper, cultists, or witches); accidents, relocation, political fear, war, refugee situation, media overload, and bad news on TV and social media. Even retirement that should normally reduce stress can become a stressor if not handled proactively and properly.

We all need some measure of moderate stress to make life challenging, improve performance, and even to survive and thrive. However, stress is dangerous when unduly prolonged, frequent, or concentrates on one particular organ of the body. The longer one stays stressed, the more likely the body will eventually pay a price. The good news is that, in Christ, we can transform Stress into Strength!

We can learn from David’s response when his family and those of his army were captured and taken away by the Amalekites.  David and his men wept until they had no strength (v.4). He was “greatly distressed”; while “the soul of all the people was grieved” (v.6). David’s distress was not only due to his kidnapped family, but because his men were talking of stoning him; each being bitter in spirit. Praise God! David found strength in the LORD his God. He prayed to God, seeking for direction, and God answered. David followed divine guidance and he and his men were able to pursue and overtake the enemy, rescue their families, and recover their belongings (vv.17-19). 

Beloved, how are you handling the stressful situations around you? Are you excluding God in the “battle” or distress? Are you attempting to manage on your own by falling back into an unhealthy habit or an addictive behaviour? Or, are you turning towards God by asking and relying on His help? God wants us to choose Him as our Source of Strength in tough times. Let’s turn to His Word for nuggets of His truth that speak to our situation, and see Stress turn into Strength. Paul declared: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phi.4:13).In situations of great distress, we can seek for direction, follow divine guidance, pursue and overtake the enemy, and recover all!

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Prayer: 
Lord, empower our HEARTS with Grace to turn STRESS into STRENGTH for Sound HEALTH and recover all that’s our in destiny, in Jesus name.
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