A solution for killer stress?

Jesus was under enormous stress as a human. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he cried in Matthew 26:38. Jesus felt the crushing weight of despair. There was no strength left in him. His “spirit was willing,” yes, as he said himself in verse 41, but his “flesh was weak.” He learnt that a human body can only take so much. Go beyond a certain point and it starts to self-destruct. He discovered, just like we do, that stress literally kills.

But Jesus had one resource left, a knot at the end of the rope he clung on to. “May your will be done,” he prayed in verse 42. At the point at which all human strength had left him, Jesus focused entirely on his Father. It was now over to the Father to complete his will in Jesus’ life. His Father was now in control of what happened next. But the Father being the Father would see him through. His Father’s will would be done, Jesus believed, despite the helpless state Jesus was in.

And clinging onto that one last knot in the rope saw Jesus through the worst time in his life. He trusted the Father to complete what the Father had started. It had started with Jesus being human, because it was the Father’s will that Jesus experience the full range of human weakness and despair. It was also the Father’s will that Jesus experience the only solution to human weakness and despair – trusting the Father to complete his will in him, because human strength has its limits.

At the worst time in Jesus’ life, therefore, just before his crucifixion, Jesus not only accepted his Father’s will he also trusted his Father’s will. And because of it Jesus now knows from personal experience what gets a human being through killer stress.

It starts with accepting our strengthlessness. The flesh is weak – so weak it even overwhelmed Jesus with despair. He too felt like curling up in a ball of misery and giving up all together. But that’s exactly what’s needed to get us to the only solution. It’s when we’ve got nothing left in us that we say, as Jesus said, “May your will be done.” We trust the Father to complete his will in us. And all we do then is go along for the ride. It may be a rollercoaster ride, just as it was for Jesus, but the Father saw him through.

The only real solution to killer stress is: “HE will keep you strong to the end,” 1 Corinthians 1:8, and “He who calls you is to be trusted,” 1 Thessalonians 5:24.


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