John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Do you remember the story of Job in the Old Testament? He was a wealthy man who had everything a person could want but, one day he lost everything including his family. Here’s what he had to say: “I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” (Job 3:26)
We find that through all of the loss Job experienced he refused to give up. He said, “Though God slays me, yet will I trust Him.” And that, my friends, is the attitude we must take.
Peace like no other
To be sure, this world is filled with situations that bring stress to our lives, yet, God wants us to know that He gives a peace that passes all understanding. Others will look at the person who is in control of their stressors and wonder how in the world do you do that?
Stress works on our system. Adrenaline is a component of stress. Our adrenaline activates when we are faced with stressful situations. I would like for us to consider the heart. It is not only positioned in the central part of the body and the seat of life (see Proverbs 4:23), but also the determinant of character (see Matthew 15:18) and of faith (see Romans 10:10). We can truly say it has both biological and spiritual meanings in scripture since it is central to life itself.
Dr Jay Cohn was the head of the cardiovascular unit of the University of Minnesota Medical School and he said: “The heart is actually an incredibly intelligent organ. When you walk up a flight of stairs, when you get nervous or excited, or when someone scares you, your heart immediately responds with changes in rate, force, and contraction.” Even when a heart is transplanted, it still has the incredible ability to adjust to its new home.
The heart is an incredible organ that pumps 2000 gallons of blood every day through our body. That is amazing and a testament to what a wonderful creation we are. So, we must ask ourselves why we are not managing our stressors better so as to protect this wonderful organ sitting in the middle of our chest?
Stress isn’t the only culprit for heart disease. Others include: family history; smoking tobacco; high blood pressure left untreated (also known as the silent killer); high cholesterol levels; and especially high levels of the low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) causing the narrowing and hardening of arteries.
I believe God has blessed us with the ability to overcome the stressors of life so that we can remain healthy. I am not suggesting our life will be totally stress-free, but I do believe we can learn how to cope with the stress just like many learn how to march to the tune of the drama that plays out in their environment each and every day.
All the drama that many succumb to, as they are faced with stress and leave it untreated, can lead to depression as well as issues with the heart.
Every year About 610,000 Americans die from heart disease. Someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. Think about that the next time you are coping with stress that has gone without your attention.
Dr. Michael Layne is the pastor of FaithPoints Lutheran Church and is a Certified Pastoral Counselor. For his FREE FaithPoints For Living newsletter visit www.faithpoints.org.