Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chocolate

This little fella was written March 21, 2005...

I work in an insurance office with 13 women. I’ve learned so many funny and helpful things about women along the way. Not only have I learned about women, but I have learned about the affects stress can have on a person, how people cope with stress, and quick fixes for stressful days. The common wives tell is that chocolate relieves stress. There are also lavender based lotions that supposedly relieve stress as well. I am amused daily by watching these women run back and forth to a bucket of chocolate bars on a desk in the corner of the agency all in an attempt to relieve just a little stress. “I need chocolate!” is the cry you hear across the office as the day progresses. Who knew Hershey’s could be a stress relieving remedy? Is chocolate their only hope, is the sweet bar sitting in that bucket what they really need to turn to in times of stress? As funny as it is to watch the pandemonium play out, it also bothers me that in times of stress or weakness they run to a candy jar instead of God (who is much sweeter than chocolate!). Simply observing this chocolate craze for stress relief made me reflect on what God wants for us pertaining to stress. God wants us to turn to him in times of stress, his love never changes no matter what we go through or what stressful situations we face, and he promises that you can through all your burdens upon him and he will take care of you. Will the cry for chocolate ever change?

I am not referring to myself as any kind of great person or saint or anything like that. It is funny though to watch the difference in the way they handle stress and they way I handle stress. The one major difference is my strength lies in the Lord not Hershey’s or Godiva. Stress is not something God doesn’t care about. I had a young lady ask me before, “So, when you became a Christian, you gave your life to God, did all your problems stop, did you just all the sudden become stress free?” The problem is that Christians have put on such a front, such a façade, that the world thinks we don’t have problems or stress. I told her that I still face stress, temptation, all the things she faces, but I turn to God in those times, not drugs, alcohol, sex, or peers. Christians still encounter stress, so of course, God knows this and address it in the Bible. Take a look at Isaiah 40:30-31. It says people will be faint, weak, and fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall mount on the wings of eagles! Eagles soar high and their wingspans are extremely large. God compares those who look to him in times of great stress to soaring on eagle’s wings. We will soar above all the stress and others who are stressed when we turn to God. You can also see in Philippians 4:6-7 it is very apparent that if you pray and keep your focus on Christ that you will be blessed with the peace of God. Now, you may be thinking, okay great so when I’m stressed turn to God. That’s a really cute thought Adam, but why should I even be stressed if I have given my life to Christ?

When you are going through stressful situations do you ever feel like God doesn’t love you as much? This reminds me of myself when I was a kid. If my mom would not buy me something or give me exactly what I wanted I would go on a rampage screaming, “you must not love me then!” Did my mother not love me when she did not buy me those sweet ninja turtle pajamas? Of course not, her love is not based upon stupid things she buys me, it is based upon the fact she’s my mother and loves me unconditionally. With God it is almost the same. I say almost because we got a much nicer deal with him. He sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to earth to live 33 years that would lead to his brutal death and crucifixion and resurrection. I do not look upon any situation without thinking of what God has done for me already, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Now, here comes the part where everyone says, “Well, if God loves me so much, why does he put me through things?” Well take a look at Deuteronomy 10:12-13 and this may clear things up a little. It basically says that all God requires of us is to fear our Lord, walk in his ways, serve him, love him with all of our hearts and souls, and to obey his commandments and statutes. Easy enough right? We have been given a list of things God wants us to do and/or require of us. Now, we understand that, but when we are put in the situation we think God doesn’t love us as much because he wants us to obey him, follow him in this place or decision we have arrived at. Here’s the truth: God cannot contradict himself, he will never be inconsistent. In 1 John 5:3 it says the commandments of God are not burdensome. In 1 John 4:16 it says, “God is love.” With God being love then every thing he puts us through is for our best and has love behind them. For us to say, “God has put me in this stressful situation because he doesn’t love me as much,” is to say God is being inconsistent. We are saying God is not being loving. If God does not love then he ceases to exist. God is love therefore everything he puts us through is with love. We may not understand or see where he is going, but he is God, our little minds cannot grasp a fraction of what he has planned for us. Now that we understand that God loves us and everything he puts us through is because he wants the best for us, but we just may not understand we can move onto what he promises us in times of stress.

In Psalms 62:1-8 God promises that we can cast all our burdens on him and he will be our rock and we shall not be moved. That is comforting to me because amidst all the stressful things I can encounter I know that if I look to the Lord and cast my worries upon him I will not be moved. It’s like being in the middle of a storm out in the deep blue sea, but being anchored down by the best anchor in imagination. After all the waves are done smacking us around, blurring our view, making us cold and sick, and discouraging us we will remain in the same place as we did before the storm came. We will not be moved! Cast your cares upon the Lord and you will remain on the rock of salvation, with Jesus Christ. My favorite Psalm is Palmas 118:6, it basically says I will not fear for God is with me, what can mere mortals do to me? Now that is strong! What can any stressful situation do to me? God promises that no stress we face can move us, nothing any mortal can do beat us, for we have Jesus on our side. So looking to the Lord in stressful moments, you are promised that you will not be moved, you will remain on the rock of our salvation, Jesus, and that my friend is not a bad place to be.

I pray every day now that this bowl of Chocolate will cease to exist, not because I hate chocolate, I love chocolate. The dark bittersweet kind is my favorite. I wish the dependence upon chocolate would disappear and the stressed women that run around my office would see that Jesus is the way and he will get them through any stress they can imagine. My prayer is the same for anyone who does not know Jesus as their personal savior that they can look upon Christ for all their worries. He desires for us to turn to him in times of stress, he loves us unconditionally and always has our best in mind, and he promises we will be strong upon his foundation. With that said I am ready to never eat chocolate again because I know it will not cure my stress only Jesus can truly help me and really wants to. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me or read this. It’s a funny example of how people think stress works and how they cope with it but the truth is the world is crying out for chocolate when they really need Jesus. If you don’t know him please ask me or another person who does. If you do know him always remember he is the way and answer to all things, even stress.

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