“Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up.”
– Proverbs 12:25
“A joyful heart makes a face cheerful, but a sad heart produces a broken spirit.”
– Proverbs 15:13
Dr. James C. Perkins of the Greater Christ Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan shared the following statement, “No matter what the circumstance, we always need a way out. We all need the blessing of moving on to the next experience. When we know that we are not stuck, we can endure.”
Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. former pastor of the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland adds to this assertion in a sermon he titled, Learning to Handle our Midnight. He says it’s important how we define midnight. Midnight is a bridge between yesterday and tomorrow. He goes on to remark, looking at midnight in another way, I stood one day at the foothills of life, and I said to God, “Take away my pain and I will be happy”, But God said to me, “If I take away your pain, I must also take away your gain.”
These Proverbs show us how to meet the problem of worry. They show us depression of the soul and a glimpse of God’s remedy for a heavy heart. Worry in a nutshell is continuous, unnecessary anxiety or mental distress. We all have moments of anxiety or mental distress, but when it continues over a period it escalates into unnecessary anxiety. This prolonged stress and strain brings us into a state of inward deterioration called neurasthenia or nervous exhaustion. In this state, the heart is bowed down with heaviness.
If the joy of the Lord is our strength, sorrow of soul must be our source of weakness. It is not a simple or natural reflex to trust Jesus when life is horrible. Our default mechanism is that God is involved in the brilliant but not the tragic. At this point our fears need to be shocked with the declaration that there is another King and this King speaks gospel words into the chaos of our lives.
There are keys to having a Positive Perspective of Midnight and turning stress into strength. We can reduce our worries and turn stress into strength by remembering that times have been worse for all of us. Pressure is a part of life. Life is tough and rough from the womb to the tomb. Yet when we are burned out and beaten by life’s battles, there is a word from the Lord. The Bible is a book in a very real sense that demonstrates how God cares when times are at their worst.
We also can maintain a Positive Perspective of Midnight and turn stress into strength by realizing that not all stress is negative stress. Positive stress can motivate you and I to do better. Superior athletes never play their best until they feel the pressure of stiff competition. I’m often reminded of these words from First Corinthians 10:13, “no temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful, He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it.”
Our final key for seeing Midnight in a Positive Perspective and turning stress into strength is depending on the Lord alone as our ultimate source of joy. We have no power of our own to withstand life’s pressures. The joy of the Lord is our strength, and, in His presence, there is fullness of joy.
I want to leave you with this encouraging confession from Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III, of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, “Is there any problematic predicament that leaves you with the feeling that your hands are tied or that your hopes have been handcuffed? Do you feel assaulted by anxiety, hoping for the best but expecting the worst? Just remember when our hands are tied, they are positioned for prayer.”
Be encouraged this week and may the Word of Christ dwell in you richly!