We are very excited to present our Fall course offerings on metachoi.com!!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
When I find myself feeling a little stressed, I like to look back over the recent past to identify things which could be contributing to feeling a little overwhelmed. This past couple of months has been full of stressful things, both good and bad. On the good list are things like graduations, weddings and visiting relatives. The bad list, well, probably should remain private. (Lest you fret dear reader, my marriage is safe and healthy.)
Perusing the postings on social media reveals the stresses of both friends and acquaintances. It seems that I am not alone and that the world is full of painful events whether they are physical, emotional or psychological. I’m sure there are many ways to deal with stress, but I’d like to present two things to think about.
One of the ways we deal with stress is to ‘rationalize,’ or to identify reasons for the stresses we feel. Some are obvious: when one deals with a debilitating or potentially terminal illness (cancer, for example), reasons for stress abound: the financial stress of medical care, the uncertain outcomes and side effects of treatment, and concern about physical pain and death. Identifying reasons sometimes relates to ultimate causality when we ask the question ‘who or what is causing my illness?’ Other situations are less obvious, like personal relationships, financial worries or even teenage angst. Rationalization can be helpful, but I think there is another way to understand our stresses by understanding the setting in which these stresses occur.
Understanding the setting of anything sets that knowledge in a context. This can be abbreviated by calling it ‘contextualization,’ understanding the context in which ____x______ occurs. In this essay, I am contextualizing stresses. Not only are we seeking the causes of our stress (rationalization), but also an understanding of the world in which it occurs (contextualization). There may be biblical warrant for this when we consider that the world we live in has been seriously damaged by sin. Things aren’t the way they should be; our context is a broken world.
Fortunately, that’s not the final word because the context of the world includes a loving and benevolent God. He doesn’t always give us relief from our stress, but at the very least we can take comfort in knowing that He hasn’t avoided hard choices and significant stresses Himself. When God sent Jesus Christ to bear the sins of the world, it was the offering of His innocent, divine Son on behalf of morally corrupted humanity. I’m sure that I don’t understand all the pain and stress that God the Father and God the Son experienced to effect redemption. I’m also sure that when I experience the stress of disease, the emotional pain of relationships or worry over finances, my God understands and has compassion for what I am going through. Leaning on Someone who can relate in times of trouble might just be the best solution to dealing with the stresses and pains we all feel.