Summary: Almost all of us have had days of anxiety & stress & frayed nerve endings, & we need to learn how to deal with them. (Powerpoints available for free - Request #129.)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(The powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #129.)
A. Have you ever heard the story of "Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, Not Good, Very Bad Day"? If you haven’t, let me tell it to you.
ILL. Alexander was a boy about 7 or 8 years old, & he had one of those days when everything went wrong, disasters one right after another. Nothing went right. "It was a Horrible, Terrible, Not Good, Very Bad Day."
For instance, when Alexander woke up in the morning, he discovered that he had gone to bed with gum in his mouth, & when he awoke it was in his hair. When he got out of bed he tripped over his skateboard, & then he dropped his sweater into the sink where the water was running.
He said, "I just knew it was going to be a Horrible, Terrible, Not Good, Very Bad Day!" Then he went to school, & it turned out to be a horrible day there, too.
After school he had a terrible experience at the Dentist’s office. Then came supper, & he said, "We had cauliflower for supper, & I hate cauliflower! And on TV all I saw was huggin & kissin, & I hate huggin & kissin!"
"Then my bath water was too hot, & I got soap in my eyes, & I lost my marble down the drain. When I went to bed, Nick took back the pillow that he said I could have. And my Star Trek night light burned out, & I bit my tongue, & the cat decided to sleep with Nick & not with me.”
“All in all," He said, "it was a Horrible, Terrible, Not Good, Very Bad Day"
Now is it any wonder that when Alexander finally came to the end of that day, he heaved a sigh & cried, "I think I’ll just run away"?
B. Have you ever felt that way? I’m sure you have! Almost all of us have had days of anxiety & stress & frayed nerve endings, & we need to learn how to deal with them.
As I read the scriptures I find no instant formula for spiritual maturity. A lot of people are searching for one. They just want to have an experience or say a prayer, & have instant spiritual maturity. But it doesn’t come that way!
Growth & maturity come through stress & strain & struggle as we endeavor to live the Christian life.
ILL. A few years ago Thomas Hobbs of the Univ. of Wash. & some fellow sociologists published their research on Human Stress. They listed many of the common experiences of life, evaluated their impact on our mental & emotional well being, & rated them according to the stress they produced in our lives.
This stress rating was expressed in what they called "Life Change Units, or LCUs." The worse the stress rating, the higher the LCUs.
For instance, getting a divorce is rated at 73 LCUs. Being pregnant is 40 LCUs. Remodeling a home is 25 LCUs. The stress of Christmas is rated as 13 LCUs. On & on went their list of life’s stresses, each one rated in LCUs.
When we learn of a friend, maybe our own age, who is dying of cancer; or when we go to a doctor & he tells us there is something questionable in our X ray; or when our children grow up & move away; or we sell our home & move someplace else; or we change jobs, or we retire. These are all LCUs!
We are constantly being bombarded by LCUs, & the conclusion of the researchers was that if, within one year’s time, we experience a cumulative total of more that 300 Life Change Units, most people will not be able to handle it.
They concluded that if we experience that many LCUs in one year’s time that most of us will have either a physical or mental or emotional breakdown because, humanly speaking, we just can’t cope with that much change.
But notice that I said "humanly speaking," & I emphasize the word "humanly," because our trust in God can make all the difference in how we are able to handle the things that may happen to us in life.
C. Now with that in mind, turn to Psalm 46. There must have been times when the writer of this psalm felt like he was in a pressure cooker & couldn’t get out. So he wrote the words of this Psalm as he sought to deal with the stresses of his life.
Listen to the first verse, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." The Hebrew word "trouble" that he used means "pressed in." Do you remember the old saying, "Between a rock & a hard place?" That is the kind of pressure the Psalmist is talking about.