230920 – From Stress to Rest

READ: Psalm 20

When I was a child, there was a popular after-school television show called Goosebumps that aired on Nickelodeon. It was sort of like American Horror Story for seven-year-olds. I used to watch it while hiding behind sofa pillows, poking my eyes through a crack in the cushions. There was one eerie episode that made a lasting impression on me. On the screen, as a child was sliding into bed, the disembodied hand of a skeleton grasped the kid’s ankle. Not cool, Nickelodeon! This scene shook me to my core. I don’t even know what happened next because I scrambled away from the television as if the skeleton was going to leap from the screen.

That night as I was crawling into bed, the scene reignited in my imagination. The shock made me cower away from my covers and then dash down the hallway. “Mom!” I screamed. If anyone could take care of skeleton monsters, it had to be my mother, right? She calmly escorted me to my room, checked under my bed for skeletal creatures, and tucked me in for a good night’s sleep. This cycle repeated for almost two months.

My stress made me seek someone I trusted. At the core, stress is symptomatic of a lack of trust. Stress happens when you don’t feel safe, you’re uncertain about the future, untrusting of the people around you, or facing the unknown. Stress triggers a trust response. We attempt to cling to anything certain in an uncertain world. What do you cling to in times of stress? Is it your relationships, an addiction, the affection of someone, or your possessions? Whatever your reaction, there is a better response.

It’s crucial that you trust something that’s wholly trustworthy. God wired us to trust in something bigger than ourselves. That’s why it’s crucial that you let your stress lead you to trust God who is unshakable and unchangeable. Psalm 20 is a “prayer for the king” song that was recited in the royal courts. These sort of published prayers were common in the ancient world, especially when there was a big battle on the horizon.

In this passage, David prayed, “Some trust in chariots and horses, but I will trust in the name of the Lord” (20:7). Unlike possessions or people, God is unbreakable and unwavering. Stress makes you seek safety, right? There is safety in God’s arms. It’s just like a child running to their mother when he’s scared. Trust in the true God. He can transform your stress into rest.