Day 13: Dealing with Stress
Saturday, February 19, 2022
Today we are continuing with the story we began yesterday in Matthew 14. We saw how Jesus encountered interruptions, just as we do. In the same way, we will see an example of how he dealt with stress. Interruptions and stressful situations will always come up, whether in first-century Israel or modern-day America.
We are focusing on developing the prayer habits of Jesus in our alone time, or solitude, with God. While they are always good and necessary, the need for these practices becomes even more evident in the face of stress. Silence, stillness, and solitude help us create a healthier heart and soul before the Lord, which is precisely what we need when pushed to the limit.
Matthew 14:22-23, 34-36
“Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone….
After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.”
Rather than taking time to celebrate the momentous miracle (feeding the five thousand), Jesus sent the crowds and his disciples away. Then, he went off by himself to pray. Let’s remember: while fully divine, Jesus also was fully human. After a long day of ministering to thousands, the Savior had to be utterly exhausted. Before he could pour out again, he first had to be filled up. Jesus needed self-care, and he received it by spending time with the Father. It required wisdom and courage to walk away from the crowd at the height of his popularity to take time for solitude.
We are likely to tell ourselves there will be time to be replenished later, but we should capitalize on our momentum while we have it. Jesus knew better. It’s a good thing he did, as the crowds quickly flocked to him again the next morning. Life continued full steam ahead. Jesus’ time alone enabled him to continue his public ministry.
If Jesus required time for solitude with the Father, how much more do we need it? Consider how you can follow His example. How do you need to prioritize self-care? Instead of pursuing what is temporary, prioritize care for your heart and soul. It will allow you to be prepared for all the stress you will inevitably encounter in life.
Ask yourself if stress drives you to God or away from God. The next time you experience stress, how can you follow Jesus’ example? Spend time in prayer to be centered and prepared to face whatever life brings your way.
Prayer: “Jesus, I want to live as you did. I want to pursue time with you amid the stress and interruptions around me. You are my refuge. Help me to be able to withstand the storms I will face in this life. Help me learn, embrace, and apply the habits of silence, stillness, and solitude. I follow your example, and I give you my life. Amen.”
By Dave Mann
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