How Is Your Stress Level? — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

How Is Your Stress Level? — Morning Devotions

It's incredibly difficult not to stress. Most of us face stress in a number of ways. But God tells us not to worry - and He sees everything in our path.

By Chris WittsMonday 29 May 2023Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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I don’t know how many people struggle with sleep. It’s probably in the thousands. You go to bed tossing and turning because the thoughts going through your mind are very hard to switch off. I know what that’s like. Many of us got trouble falling asleep, staying asleep. It was 2011. They had what was called the Great Sleep Survey, and it found that over half of us report regularly having trouble sleeping.

It’s an issue that is even more of a problem for women, three quarters of whom admit to having trouble getting to sleep. And the Guinness Book of World Records no longer endorse a record for the number of hours without sleep. Now, if you’re interested in that, the last record they hold stood for 264.4 hours in 11 days, 24 minutes. They don’t keep that anymore because they know that sleep deprivation now is not a very good thing. It can actually kill you. In situations of total sleep deprivation. It can be fatal, so it is a serious health issue, and sometimes the addition of sleepless nights can be the final straw for someone that’s already struggling to get through the day. So if you’re stressed out feeling anxious and finding you can’t sleep, it just makes things worse.

We’re prone to negative emotions and unhelpful patterns of thinking without sleep.

When we’re tired, we just can’t cope.

Is there something about our modern 21st century that makes sleeping hard? Well, stress is certainly the number one culprit. The Time magazine had a lead article some years ago, and the heading was ‘Stress. Can we cope?’

And it carried a complete discussion of the effects of epidemic stress on our society. Life expectancy is diminishing because of stress, and the article talked about many of our illnesses are stress related. Peptic ulcers, high blood pressure, certain strokes, migraines, asthma are all diagnosed as illnesses, which are often produced by stress and how we respond to it. And too often we push ourselves forward. We don’t allow time to wind down, relax. And the demands on time at home and at work, and they’re often carrying guilt of how we’re going to get through. So, there’s this idea of pushing yourself getting more worried.

The Bible actually often uses the metaphors of light and darkness, and that’s certainly true as you feel more spiritually vulnerable during the night. You can’t find, rather, you can find yourself a different person at 11 AM or on a day that’s going well, then, I’d say at four in the morning or five in the morning after, you just can’t get to sleep.

But there is comfort in the Bible in knowing that even in the darkest nights God is with us. In fact, I’m looking at a delightful verse in Psalm 56:8 from the message version that says ‘You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.’ That’s Psalm 56 Verse eight and then Psalm 74. And that reminds us that God owns not just the day, but God owns the night as well.

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So no matter if it’s two or three in the morning, God is there with you. Stress. That’s a physical mental tension. Too many of us are stressed out. Take a look at the Bible characters that knew about stress, David. Now here’s one example. He was the king of Israel, but his son Absalom wanted to take his crown any way he could. And David had to run away in fear of his life. So here you had thousands of Absalom’s army chasing him, wanting to kill him.

It was really a desperate situation. And he ran. David ran through the valleys of Judea trying to escape the fear of wild animals. And he had come from the comfort of a palace to live like an animal.

But the amazing thing and I’m looking at Psalm 3 is that David said my adversaries are too great, but you eternal God, wrap around me like a shield. You answer me from your sacred heights. I lie down at night and fall asleep, and I awake in the morning healthy, strong, vibrant because the eternal God supports me. No longer will I fear my tens of thousands of enemies who have surrounded me.

So there it is. David knew that he could trust God. Another wonderful verse from the Bible is Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind has stayed on you because he trusts in you.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, help us to trust you that we can find peace. And, Lord, I ask this in the wonderful and healing name of Jesus. Amen.