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Dealing With Stress

by

Jeremy Mwangelwa

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Dealing With Stress

Shalom saints! Brother Maurice mentioned to me that he wished I could do a sermon on stress. I asked Evangelist Denise who said we all get stressed from time to time so a sermon about stress would help the congregation.

So, Yah willing we’re going to talk about stress. Who knows what stress is? What is stress?

Well, stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse (bad) or very demanding circumstances.

Stress has been part of human beings since the fall. We’re going to look at people in the Bible and how they dealt with stress.

Stress is going to happen. You can’t escape that. It’s how you deal with it that matters.

So, we’ll look at people who dealt with stress the bad way and learn from their mistakes.

Then we’ll look at people who dealt with stress the correct way and learn from them as well.

We’re going to follow a simple format. It will be

Person:

here we describe the person and what was going on in his or her life. So for example, Samson, Peter, or Abraham.

Stressor:

The stressor is the situation in the person’s life that caused the stress. Was it losing loved ones, was it a threat to the person’s life, was it getting sick?

Solution:

The solution was how the person dealt with the stress. This is where we’ll see the difference between dealing with stress the good way and the bad way.

Result:

The result is the outcome of the solution used to deal with the stress.

The people we are going to be looking at should be familiar to church folk. So, we won’t go through a lot of Scripture explaining what the people went through. What I’d like us to focus on are the stressors that the people went through and how they handled the stress.

Stress affects everyone from time to time. What may be stressing you may be different from what’s stressing someone else.

So, it’s not about what is causing the stress, but about dealing with the stress. We’ll look at six different people and how they handled stressors in their lives.

Three of the people handled stress in a bad way. The other three handled stress in a good way.

The people also went through somewhat similar circumstances but handled stress differently. Somewhat similar, but maybe not that similar.

The most important thing is dealing with stress the right way.

So, we’ll start with the people that handled stress the wrong way.

BAD WAYS OF DEALING WITH STRESS

Noah

Noah is our father. We are all related to Noah.

Noah was a righteous man. At a time when the earth became corrupt with violence, and wicked thoughts, Noah was found blameless.

The earth was really corrupt and man’s thoughts were wicked continually so Yahweh decided to put an end to life on earth with a flood. Yahweh told Noah to build an ark to save his family, some animals, and anyone that wanted to serve Yahweh. Everybody refused except his family.

Yahweh destroyed life on earth with a flood. But Noah and his family got saved.

Most of us should be familiar with the story of Noah so I won’t have many Scriptures up but I will have a few.

“Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And Yahweh regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So Yahweh said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of Yahweh.”

Genesis 6:5-8 ESV

To get the full story, please read Genesis 6 and 7. But, long story short, Yahweh killed everyone that wasn’t in the ark. He also destroyed most of the animals.

“And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind.”

Genesis 7:21 ESV

Stressor:

Noah came off the ark and worshiped Yahweh with a sacrifice. But the stress of starting over, missing his friends, and his extended family was hard for him.

Now the Scripture doesn’t say that Noah missed his friends and his extended family, but it’s a good assumption.

Sometimes when we read Scripture, we tend to look at people like robots instead of human beings with emotions and feelings.

Now even though you don’t think Noah was going through that, after all Yahweh blessed him, still the most important thing is looking at how Noah dealt with this stressor.

Maybe I’m stretching this a bit. But, many people who have lost so much like Noah lost, have dealt with stress with what Noah did.

Solution:

Noah planted grapes and made wine from them and he got drunk.

“Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.”

Genesis 9:20-21 ESV

Now, maybe Noah just drunk too much of his wine and he wasn’t using it as a way to deal with the stress of losing the known world, but we know that people tend to go to alcohol to help them forget their problems and to help them calm down.

So, we can still use Noah as an example.

Noah drunk too much wine, got drunk and lay naked in his tent.

Drinking to avoid dealing with reality is something people still do today. Alcohol is not a good way of dealing with stress.

Alcohol may help you temporarily, but things will only get worse after that. So, what was the result of Noah getting drinks?

Result:

Noah ended up being naked before his children. He was drunk and didn’t know what had happened. Ham, his third son, found him naked and disrespected him.

He went and told his two brothers. His brothers covered their father’s nakedness while walking backwards with their faces away from their father.

When Noah awoke, he saw what Ham had happened to him and cursed Canaan. Now Canaan was Ham’s son, Noah’s grandson. Canaan’s descendants ended up being an evil people, whose land Yahweh took away.

It appears Canaan was already born at this point. I’m sure Noah loved Ham, and he loved all his grandchildren. But this issue may never have happened if Noah hadn’t become drunk.

This situation hurt family relations. Using alcohol to deal with stress can hurt family relations, it can cause you embarrassment, and hurt your testimony.

So, alcohol is a bad way to deal with stress.

“And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers."”

Genesis 9:22-25 ESV

RACHEL

Rachel was Jacob’s second wife. Jacob loved Rachel very much. He worked seven years for her. Rachel had an older sister. Her name was Leah.

After 7 years, when the time came for Jacob to marry Rachel, the girls’ father Laban, Jacob’s uncle, tricked Jacob. He gave Jacob Leah instead of Rachel. He said he couldn’t give the younger daughter before the older daughter. He said Jacob had to work another 7 years for Rachel.

So, Jacob worked another 7 years for Rachel. He worked a total of 14 years for Rachel. So, Jacob had two wives. You’ll find this story in Genesis 29.

Jacob really loved Rachel and he did not love Leah. Yahweh doesn’t like it when men don’t love their wives, no matter how they married them.

So, let’s read the Scriptures to see what happened.

“When Yahweh saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, "Because Yahweh has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me." She conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Because Yahweh has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also." And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, "Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, "This time I will praise Yahweh." Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.”

Genesis 29:31-35 ESV

So, Leah bore Jacob four sons and Rachel did not give Jacob any children.

Stressor:

Rachel’s Sister, Leah, kept having children. Rachel hadn’t had children yet. This made Rachel feel very stressed.

She must have felt like she wasn’t good wife. Children are a blessing from Yahweh and that culture strongly believed that.

So, a woman who wasn’t able to have children felt very shamed and was under a lot of stress.

So, how did Rachel deal with her stress?

Solution:

“When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, "Give me children, or I shall die!"”

Genesis 30:1 ESV

So, Rachel’s solution to the stress of not having any children was complain to her husband and blame him!

She said she would die if she didn’t have any children!

Rachel was blaming Jacob for why she couldn’t have children. So, how did Jacob respond? What was the result of her solution?

Result:

“Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?"”

Genesis 30:2 ESV

So, Jacob now gets angry because he’s being blamed for not giving Rachel children. So, now they’re having marriage problems.

Blaming other people for your problems is not a good way of dealing with stress.

If someone did something to you a long time ago, or your parents did this or that to you, it’s up to you how you deal with it.

Forgive them and deal with stress the right way. Healing does not come from blaming other people for your problems, it comes from Yahweh.

JUDAS

Judas was a disciple of Yahshua. He was chosen to be among some of the most important people in history. Judas would witness things many people had longed to see for centuries. He saw Yahshua perform many miracles and saw Yahshua teach and bring many to belief in Yahweh.

But Judas had a love for money. He used to steal from the treasury. The money that was used for Yahshua’s ministry work.

Because Judas loved money, Satan tempted Judas to betray Yahshua to the Jewish leaders who hated Yahshua for 30 pieces of silver. The Jewish leaders agreed, gave Judas his money, and Judas led them to Yahshua.

The leaders took Yashua. Thy didn’t just lock Yahshua up or tell him not to preach in Jerusalem. They beat him terribly and crucified him. Judas, who had spent 3 years with someone who loved him felt very remorseful. He hated what he had done and he went to the Jewish leaders to seek repentance. But they rejected him and could have cared less. They were glad they had put Yahshua to death.

Most of us have read the Gospels and know about our suffering Savior.

Stressor:

“Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Yahshua was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." They said, "What is that to us? See to it yourself."”

Matthew 27:3-4 ESV

So, Judas realizes he has betrayed innocent blood. Maybe he thought the Jewish leaders would just lock Yahshua up. Instead, they condemned Him to death.

I bet in his mind he felt like he could not ask Yahshua for forgiveness because Yahshua was on the cross dying or dead.

He went to the Jewish leaders but they rejected him. They were glad they had put Yahshua to death.

He probably felt like the other eleven disciples would want nothing to do with him, he was a murderer to betrayed his own Rabbi!

Judas was under a lot of stress from this guilt

So, what was Judas’ solution?

Solution:

“And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.”

Matthew 27:5 ESV

Judas felt like all this was too much to bear so he committed suicide by hanging himself.

Result:

Judas sinned, failed to repent to Yahweh and went to Hell. Judas also has a very bad legacy. Most people in the English world, or who read the English Bible, would never name their child Judas. The name itself is associated with betrayal.

Suicide is NEVER a solution for ANY problem. No matter what you’ve done, NEVER take your own life.

Do not listen to the voices in your head telling you you’ll escape the pain or you’ll go somewhere nice. That’s a lie. Never commit suicide and NEVER encourage anyone to commit suicide.

GOOD WAYS OF DEALING WITH STRESS

Now, we’ll look at people who faced somewhat similar situations like Noah, Rachel, and Judas, somewhat similar, but dealt with stress the right way.

JOB

Job was a man of Yahweh. He was a righteous man. He was also a very wealthy man. During his lifetime, he was the greatest man of the east. That is the most prominent person in the lands east of Canaan.

He had 10 children. He offered sacrifices to Yahweh every day for his children in case they had sinned.

You’ll find this in Job 1.

Stressor:

One day his life was turned upside down. He lost his children, and all wealth and property. Job suffered terribly.

This was very stressful for Job.

Solution:

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. Yahweh gave, and Yahweh has taken away; blessed be the name of Yahweh." In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

Job 1:20-22 ESV

Job accepted his situation and realized that Yahweh had allowed it to happen. When he lost his children and all his material wealth, Job accepted the situation and worshiped Yahweh.

Job did not pick up a drink and start drinking. Job did not blame Yahweh and charge him with wrong. He just accepted it as Yahweh allowing it, and worshiped Yahweh.

Job then lost his health too.

His wife was also hurting. She had just lost all her children and all her wealth through her husband. Her husband was also in great distress. But Job’s wife didn’t handle the stress as well as her husband.

She told her husband to curse Yahweh and die but Job could not do it. He accepted what Yahweh had allowed in his life.

Through out the remainder of the book of Job, we see Job holding on to his faith. He didn’t understand why Yahweh was punishing him or trying to kill him, at least that’s what he thought. He just accepted it as Yahweh allowing it.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”

Job 13:15 KJV

He desired so much to get a chance to speak to Yahweh so that he would plead his cause. He cried to Yahweh and waited to hear Yahweh answer.

His friends thought Job certainly had done something wrong. But Job kept insisting that he had done nothing wrong that he was aware of.

You may read the entire book of Job to get the details. It’s quite long.

Result:

Yahweh heard Job and spoke to him. He revealed Himself to Job and Job got closer to Yahweh.

“Then Job answered Yahweh and said:

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."”

Job 42:1, 5-6 ESV

Yahweh also blessed Job with more wealth. Job also had other children.

Job now has a wonderful legacy and is in Yahweh’s book. Yahweh even considered him among the most righteous people that ever lived (Ezekiel 14:14).

Calling and pleading to Yahweh is what you should do when you’re in deep stress.

It may seem like something you already know but how many of you really call out to Yahweh when you have problems?

Do you first call your relatives, friends, or your pastor? Who you call when you’re in stress really shows who’s closest to you.

HANNAH

Hannah was a righteous woman. Hannah was like Rachel. She was married to a man called Elkanah who had two wives. Hannah was one wife, and the other wife was called Penninah. The other wife was bearing children, but Hannah had no children.

Elkanah an was a righteous man. He used to go to a city called Shiloh to offer sacrifices to Yahweh every year.

You can find Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel chapters 1 and 2.

Stressor:

Hannah desperately wanted children but she had none. Peninnah, the other wife, teased and bullied Hannah because Hannah had no children. This was very stressful for Hannah.

“On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though Yahweh had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because Yahweh had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of Yahweh, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.”

1 Samuel 1:4-7 ESV

Solution:

Hannah had the same problem as Rachel. She was one of two wives and she could not have children.

Rachel complained to her husband and blamed him for being unable to have children. That did not go well with her. What did Hannah do?

Hannah poured her soul out to Yahweh. She prayed and told Yahweh how she felt. Even though Yahweh hadn’t answered her prayer, she continued worshiping Him and offering sacrifices to Him. She vowed to Yahweh that if He gave her a son, she would offer him back to Yahweh. This was not something unique to Hannah. This was something that Yahweh had said needed to be done. First-born sons belonged to Yahweh.

Result:

“They rose early in the morning and worshiped before Yahweh; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and Yahweh remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from Yahweh.””

1 Samuel 1:19-20 ESV

Hannah was faithful to her vow and gave her boy Samuel to the priesthood once he was weaned (stopped breastfeeding). Samuel became a great prophet who anointed the first two kings of Israel (Read 1 Samuel). The kings that Yahweh selected. Hannah also ended up having more children.

“Indeed Yahweh visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of Yahweh.”

1 Samuel 2:21 ESV

There are many examples in Scriptures and in our time of women praying for children and Yahweh opening up the womb.

But, like Hannah, we must worship Yahweh for who He is not for what He can give us. We must accept everything from Yahweh because after all, He is always good.

When you’re under stress, don’t do like Rachel did and complain and accuse your husband, do what Hannah did. Pour yourself before Yahweh and continue to worship Him while you wait for an answer.

The key is continue to worship Yahweh in your stress.

Don’t threaten suicide or start drinking or doing drugs or anything else. Continue worshiping Yahweh, pouring your soul out to Him, and He will carry you through your suffering.

YAHSHUA

Yahshua is Elohim in the flesh. He was sinless and he came to offer salvation to all mankind. He preached the Gospel and fulfilled all that was spoken of him in the Law and the Prophets.

He was a just man, the very face of Yahweh, and the very image of God. He was innocent. His duty was to take on the sins of the world when the time came.

He would be punished for he sins of all mankind and take up the just wrath of Yahweh. If anyone believed on Him, and obeyed Him, that person’s sins would be forgiven and he or she would be justified!

We should all know about Yahshua’s person and purpose.

He had disciples who he taught and through whom He would build His church. The church would be a group of people who believed on His message, followed Him, and through whom the message of salvation would be spread to all nations under heaven.

Stressor:

For mankind’s sins to be forgiven, someone else had to be punished for them. Sin isn’t forgiven in thin air. Yahweh is just. That means sin has to be punished. Yahshua was innocent and sinless but He was condemned like the worst of criminals.

Taking on this condemnation was very difficult and extremely stressful. The stress was so bad, it showed up in his forehead which sweated blood.

“And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch."”

Mark 14:33-34 ESV

Yahshua was under a great deal of stress. So, what did He do?

Solution:

And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 “And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."”

Mark 14:35-36 ESV

Like any human being, Yahshua didn’t want to experience the pain and suffering of condemnation. He asked His Father if this suffering could pass away from Him.

Surely, all things are possible with God. But, this suffering is the reason Yahshua came into the world. So, despite not feeling it, He subjected His flesh and His will to the Fathers and accepted the Father’s will.

He is our example of complete obedience to Yahweh Elohim.

Result:

Yahshua was a man. He is still a man. Yahweh gave Yahshua the Name above all Names.

He glorified Him and He sat Him on His right hand side. Therefore every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Yahshua is Lord.

He lifted Yahshua above everything and everyone else. There is a man in Heaven now. That had never happened before.

Yahshua is our example. If we obey Yahweh like Yahshua obeyed Yahweh, then we too shall be glorified and rule and reign with Yahshua.

Conclusion

Stress affects everyone from time to time. Stress will affect you.

How you deal with it matters. If you use man’s ways, you’ll only have more problems. Things could get worse.

Deal with stress the Godly way. Yahweh doesn’t change. If He responded to his saints in the Scripture that way, He will respond the same way to you according to His will.

1 Peter 5:6,7 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of Elohim, that He may exalt you in due time:” Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”

Amen