yesterday morning during Sunday school, two women in the community began a loud, expletive filled argument in the middle of the road. I’m glad most people don’t act this way, however things like this happen often enough that I’m not surprised by it any more. I calmly went outside and asked them to stop because they were distracting us from Church, and they stopped the arguing thankfully.
Few of us curse loud enough for people up the street to hear when stressed out (I’m convinced they just do this to get attention). But many of us allow stressful situations to develop unhealthy habits
- Like outbursts of anger
- Isolating ourselves from others
- Lack of control over emotions
- Acting as if everything’s okay when it obviously isn’t
- And refusing to accept the help of others
While these actions aren’t as serious as a loud argument in the road, they still do damage to the Gospel
When stress affects our lives in deep ways it keeps us from having a consistent testimony for Christ
All it takes is one thing to ruin our day
one phone call
one frustrating situation
And suddenly we lose all faith and trust in God
Nehemiah on the other hand went months with a heart that was deeply broken over the needs of the children of Israel. Yet he in no way displayed that frustration outwardly.
The biggest reason for this is anyone who showed emotion before the king was in danger of being killed for it (2:2). But I believe it goes much deeper than that.
This wasn’t just a case of Nehemiah “hiding his stress” so that the king could not see it. This was a man who while experiencing a deep burden had an incredible peace. We see the peace of Nehemiah in the way he responded to an increasingly stressful situation in this chapter.
The testimony of Nehemiah 2:1 is clear. It’s better to deal with you stress than to hide your stress.
So how did Nehemiah deal with his stress and find calmness???
By allowing his stress to lead him to God.
We saw recently the Biblical responses that Nehemiah displayed to the crisis of Jerusalem being without protection, and vulnerable to attack.
- He repented of his own sin (1:4)
- He focused on the character of God (1:5)
- He desperately sought the help of God (1:6)
- He confessed his own sin (1:6-7)
- He placed his trust in the promises of God (1:9)
- and emphasized the relationship Israel had with God (1:10)
Through that rededication, Nehemiah found a calm peaceful spirit while his heart was filled with anxiety.
God does not promise us a life without burdens…but He does promise that those who walk closely with Him can face those burdens with a courage the world could never know.