April 20, 2016
One group I would like to mention, that does not often get a mention in terms of organizations helping with stress and nerve-related disorders, is the church. The church I believe is the bedrock of our society. Many have rejected it and turned their backs on God,and so do not seek solutions in the church when the chips are down. Can they be blamed when often the church has not provided a unified answer to their problems?
The church I am a member of, to their credit, was one of the first to volunteer people on the ground to visit distraught people and help with food, visitation and cleaning up after both the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The cleaning up referred to often involved scraping away of “liquefaction” from people’s homes that were affected-mainly on the eastern side of the city. Many were prayed for and I believe received help in their time of need.
But when you have repeated occurrences of the same problem-whether this is earthquakes or war or financial shakings- even the toughest people get worn down. The “She will be right” approach that Antipodeans are known for is just not working for the hard-pressed citizens of Christchurch, particularly the elderly, the infirm and those waiting on insurance payouts on their damaged homes. With many in our secular society then still unable to get free from fear and anxiety and mental issues we have to ask : are we the Church responding to the need in the correct way?
Yes we are to comfort those who mourn. But in a society that idolizes “staunch” (read:unemotional, tough, “stiff upper lip” (and New Zealand in many respects inherits personality traits from Britain as it is a former dominion) stereotypes, it’s hard to see who the “mourners” are. If everybody puts on a front, everybody is “fine”, the bound will not get free. Jesus was able to identify a person’s true need. The external appearance is deceptive. Statistics reflect little to no unemployment in our city yet other statistics show high rates of depression and suicide. So something isn’t quite matching up. Is counselling (which in many churches these days is based on Jungian and secular psychology) the answer? I think not.
Jesus said:” Cast out devils, heal the sick..” When was the last time you saw this happen in your church, dear believer? Jesus ministered to the whole person-spirit, soul and body. -as His Body, the church, so must we.
When I was in Korea teaching English I experienced stress on a whole other level. I was helping a church over there and came under spiritual attack-as described in the book The Wild Bulls of Paju. I was able to deal with the attack using only tools and help God has provided us as believers: The Word of God, the Spirit of God and having community with the right people in the Body of Christ. Like I say in my book-it matters where you go to church these days.
When I got stressed out from my teaching job and came under spiritual attack I knew enough of the Word of God to discern, firstly , that it was a spiritual attack, secondly that God was not punishing me (as some weird and wonderful church teachings infer), and that God had provided me with spiritual weapons to deal with it whether or not the company of believers I was with at the time had my back or not (at the time they did not, and really did not know what to do themselves with the cultural and spiritual factors that came into play when we tried to do evangelism in a foreign culture). The result: I came out victorious after going through quite a hairy situation.
No matter what you are going through in terms of stress, there is an answer in the Word of God. Medication may be a temporary help but knowing the truth will set you free long term. God does not want you stressed out and frazzled by your job , your ministry or even your marriage.
Like me, you may have stepped out in faith and have been knocked back. If you have truly heard from God, He will make a way for you. If you have misheard, but stepped out in faith anyway, God will pick you up and encourage you to go again at His timing. Like I say in the book, I would rather be somebody who steps out and tries something, than one who never attempts anything risky. But we can minimize the chances of failure by doing something scripture advises:count the cost.
If you have not properly counted the cost of the enterprise you are about to engage in, do that first, with the helpful of the Holy Spirit and maybe a leader you trust. What is it going to mean to me if I start this business, marry this person, embark on this project?- ask yourself.
Because failure to do this could lead to failure of your enterprise and that can lead quickly to depression and fear can stop you trying again. God likes faith-but He never rewards foolishness and presumption.
We are living in a time when God needs His people bold as a lion and wise as serpents. Don’t stress-learn to operate in what the Bible calls the “unforced rhythms of grace”. If you are out on a limb right now through stepping out to do something new as I did, remember to look after your physical and spiritual health (don’t rely on fellow believers or some superstar leader), keep your faith high, your confession going and your love walk strong.
God will never leave you nor forsake you. With His help stress can be a fuel to do great exploits rather than a tool of the devil to steal, kill and destroy our lives and the lives of our children.
Did you like this article? You’ll enjoy John Reason’s book, The Wild Bulls of Paju- God’s Answer to Fear, Stress and Mental Oppression
Other Reference Books:
Henry K.Wright: A More Excellent Way to Be in Health
Filed under The Spiritual Life