There are times when stress gets so intense that we just want to run away (or punch something).
The interesting thing about serving Jesus is that He doesn't take the stress away. In fact, sometimes the pressure gets worse when we choose to follow Him!
If you read Acts 9, you'll discover that Paul's life became very difficult when he decided to follow Jesus. In an instant, he went from being the hunter to the hunted.
And then he escaped over the wall of the city in a basket – he was the original basket case!
Here are some things we can learn from Acts 9:1-31:
- God WILL show up. The believers were in an impossible situation – and Paul was on his way to throw them in jail. He wasn't going to be kind, and he was going to kill some of them. He was a man on a mission, and the Christians were in a very bad position. You are never in the position that you have nowhere to turn. God is always at work.
- You need others. You can't have people lower you over the wall of a city if you don't have friends. One of the best coping techniques is to have other believers who know and love you – who don't want to fix you, but will support and challenge you at the same time.
- When the way is blocked, use your creativity. Paul could no longer minister in Damascus, but the gates were being guarded. He didn't spend time hunkering down trying to find a way out the obvious egress. Instead, he found a creative means of escaping the city to move on to the next town.
- Everyone needs a door opener. Paul was easily misunderstood. He had hunted Christians, now he was one. It is easy to understand that the Christians in Jerusalem thought he might be using underhanded means to flush them out. Barnabas became a door-opener for Paul, putting his credibility on the line to pave relationships for Paul with the Jerusalem church.
- Great pressure produces great results. When Paul faced such incredible opposition he learned how to hear God, how to access His power and how to walk in faith. Your troubles of today can be training ground for the great results of tomorrow.
God is always at work.
Whether you are facing obstacles or just feel the pressures of life, know that you aren't alone. Even Paul felt like a basket case, and he not only found a way out, he discovered that the pressure led him deeper into relationship with God.
Kim Martinez helps people connect with God. You'll find her online at www.deepimprints.com.