The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want (Psalm 23:1, NIV).
Stress is a familiar and faithful companion. It doesn’t matter where life takes us, we will encounter stress. Unless we learn to manage and deal with that stress – God’s way – we will find ourselves trapped, an easy target for the enemy.
I heard the story of a farmer who, as the owner of a large piece of land along the Atlantic seacoast, constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic because of terrible storms known to plague the area. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin middle-aged man applied for the job. “Are you a good farm hand?” the farmer asked. “Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the desperate farmer hired him.
The slight man worked hard, to the delight of the farmer. One night, the howling wind blew in from offshore, signaling the approach of a monstrous storm. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. “Get up! A storm is coming!” he yelled. The man rolled over in bed and firmly responded, “No sir. I told you. I can sleep when the wind blows.” Furious, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm only to discover that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarps. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in their coops, the doors were barred, and the shutters were tightly secured. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand had meant. He, too, returned to his bed to sleep while the wind blew.
Stress management is a spiritual discipline that begins with diligent preparation in every area of life – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. We must be ready to deal with stress before we have to deal with stress.
Jeremiah 17: 7,8. “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water and sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Leaning on God’s Word helps prepare you before the storms arrive. He wants you to also be able to sleep while the wind blows.