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 email@example.com and request #129.)
TEXT: Psalm 46:1-11
A. Have you ever heard the story of "Alexander and his Horrible, Terrible, Not Good, Very Bad Day"? Some of you have, but for those who haven't, let me tell you about him.
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 that 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 accidentally dropped his sweater into the sink where the water was running.
After that he said, "I just knew it was going to be a Horrible, Terrible, Not Good, Very Bad Day!" Then when he went to school, it turned out to be a horrible day there, too.
After school he had a painful 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 his pillow that he said I could have. And my Star Trek night light burned out, & 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"
Is it any wonder then that when Alexander finally came to the end of that day, he heaved a sigh & cried, "I think I'll just have to run away"?
B. Have you ever felt that way? Almost all of us have had days of anxiety & stress, & we need to learn how to deal with them - to grow up & become mature.
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 experiencing & overcoming the stresses & strains that come our way in seeking to live the Christian life.
ILL. Some years ago Thomas Hobbs of the Univ. of Wash. & some fellow sociol¬ogists 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, going through a divorce was rated at 73 LCUs. Being pregnant was 40 LCUs. Remodeling a house was 25 LCUs. The stress of Christmastime was rated as 13 LCUs. On & on went their list of life's stresses, each one rated in LCUs.
When we learn of a friend who is dying of some disease; or when your doctor tells you there is something questionable in your X ray; or when our children grow up & leave home; or we sell our house & move away; 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 down." Do you remember the old saying, "Between a rock & a hard place?" That is the kind of pressure the Psalmist is talking about.