I have a good friend in South Georgia who owns a medium sized business. I have known him since my college days, looked up to him, and always believed that he could handle anything.
His business has been very successful. However, other aspects of his life have suffered at the expense of his business.
My friend called me about 6 months ago. At the time, he was working well over 80 hours a week and felt as if the pressure was close to breaking him.
I was surprised. How could he have problems with pressure, stress, and overworking himself?
After our phone visit, I turned to the Bible for guidance in this situation.
From a lay person’s perspective, I believe that Christians are tested by God in many ways throughout life. It also seems that enormous levels of stress, whether from business, family, sickness, or other worldly sources are just a part of the human experience.
This really didn’t make me feel much better until my pastor explained that God wants for us to rely on Him only. We cannot rely on ourselves. That plan is doomed from the beginning.
While I have talked about relying on God in prior columns, my friend’s situation brought a real life example to the forefront.
I always saw my friend as “self-sufficient.” That is an honorable quality in our society.
While being responsible, organized, and effective is a solid bedrock for life, there comes a time when we cannot rely on such human power. There will come a day when a storm will wash away these foundations. What then?
There are many ways to react to this, some good, some bad. But, a reaction happens.
In many of these situations, I believe that God is reaching out to one of His children who has become too self-sufficient. When the storm comes, the only real solution is to turn it over to God. We should do this on a daily basis. But, it is easier said than done.
I called my friend back and we talked about some of these ideas. He was still in a dark place. But, he gave it over to God and just stepped back. The results were amazing.
Every aspect of his life improved as the waters receded from the storm. He survived one of the most challenging times of his life.
I am very hard headed and oftentimes do not follow through on principles such as this. But, when I step back and give God control (which He has anyway), a level of peace that is hard to describe fills me.
Another local friend often reminds me that a quart jar of water holds exactly a quart and not a gallon. This seems simple enough. But, when we try to force things to happen when dealing with stress, this is just like forcing more water into that quart jar.
Another example of this principle comes from many years ago when I was a very young lawyer sitting in my mentor’s office. Gerry Word had a large picture of a lighthouse shining in the midst of a tempest from the sea. When I asked Gerry how to handle the pressures that come with his work, he would point to the picture. The lighthouse represents God. The tempest represents the swirling storm of attacking pressures.
That picture has always stuck in my mind when life’s pressures mount.
I also believe that God is beside us during challenges, trials, and times of darkness. Reaching out to the light is what He wants us to do. This pleases Him.
Reach out to the lighthouse when the storm comes. God will not allow the tempest to overtake His children.
I promise to do my best in this endeavor.