By Curtis Peter Van Gorder
Have you ever seen an oil refinery? One thing that amazed me about the first one I saw up close was the intricate maze of pipes that was used to produce gas, kerosene, plastics, and a host of other petroleum products. Besides the complexity of it all, one wonders how it can all be maintained safely and still be financially viable.
Proper pressure is maintained in every pipe to ensure that the oil flows at just the right rate—not too fast lest it burst the pipes, and not too slow. All this apparent confusion of pipes has rhyme and reason to it. Of course, it took some geniuses to design it, and it takes an army of experts to maintain and monitor it all to make sure that it is properly regulated.
We may sometimes feel that our lives are like that maze of pipes under a lot of pressure. Besides our jobs and the endless chores that make up everyday living, we have a multitude of obligations to our families and friends. Then there are our responsibilities to the community, and appeals to help a world full of needy causes. We also have spiritual commitments to live our faith—to maintain our relationship with the Lord through prayer, reading His Word, and having fellowship with other believers. Sometimes the pressure seems too much to bear. How do we keep from bursting apart at the seams?
It may surprise you to know that a certain amount of pressure is good for us. It helps us not to slip into a state of physical, mental, and spiritual lethargy. It can motivate us to win greater victories as we overcome new obstacles.
A certain amount is good for us, but too much can be our undoing. That’s why we need a pressure valve, a way out. Jesus offers us just that.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,” Jesus tells us, “and I will give you rest.” Speaking in terms that His followers of 2,000 years ago could understand, He likened the press of daily responsibilities and problems to the load of a beast of burden: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). If we find our yoke too heavy, perhaps we have fashioned one for ourselves that is much heavier than the one He wants us to bear.
A large part of an engineer’s job is to know exactly how much stress the structure he is designing—whether it is a bridge, an elevator, or a boat, or whatever—can take. That’s why you see signs in elevators or boats telling you how many people they can safely hold. If you exceed that limit, the bridge could collapse, the boat sink, or the elevator fall.
You have to know your limits, too, and not push yourself beyond them. When things begin to get too much for you, let Jesus regulate the pressure. He knows how much is good for you and how much you can take. Let Him take the controls, and He will make sure it’s never too much.
“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).
The secret to overcoming stress … is learning to rest in the Lord
Jesus promises to give us “rest for our souls,” but He has set one condition: “Come to Me” (Matthew 11:28-30). When you are wearied with the strain of it all, you can fly to Jesus on the wings of prayer and faith and get the relief that He alone can give you. He knows what you need most of all: rest of body, mind, and spirit, fellowship with Him, and the spiritual strengthening that comes from reading and absorbing His Word.
“And you will find rest for your souls.” Not many people understand that a soul is both body and spirit. If you don’t rest spiritually in the Lord, you are going to wear out your body.
—David Brandt Berg
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