Who Rolls Away the Stones in Your Life?
Last Sunday we celebrated the Resurrection of Our Savior and Lord Jesus! We focused on the miracle of His life as He stepped out of the tomb at daybreak. The stone that had sealed His grave was huge! It had to take a number of strong men to roll it into place. As a congregation we reflected on this fact as I asked them … “Who rolls away the stones in our lives?”
Just by hearing this question, we know that yes, indeed, there are stones in our lives from time to time. This side of Heaven there will always be tiny rocks and pebbles that fill our lives from time to time! You know … the little aggravations of daily life that can get us going and mess up our days before they even begin! The “no milk for the cereal and we’re out of bread” (I knew I should have stopped at the store my way home yesterday!) starts to our mornings, or having to stop for gas on the way to work – especially when doing so will make us late!
In and of themselves, these little daily kinds of aggravations can be fairly easy to solve …. unless they begin to accumulate! The proverbial “snowball” seems to grow and grow until it turns into an avalanche by the time we finally get home! But then there’s dinner to fix, dogs to feed and walk, a kitchen to clean, laundry to do, and then – there’s homework time with the kids! And you-know-who just walked into the house mad at the world and needing to vent – ON YOU!
Years ago, a doctor by the name of Hans Selye studied the effects of dealing with stress in our lives. He reported that whenever we deal with the smaller, less significant stress factors in our lives, they can accumulate to present us with serious anger issues that can result in negative physical, mental and emotional consequences as well as contribute to serious relationship problems with loved ones, bosses and co-workers!
He explained that even as the little aggravations hit us, they can trigger chemical changes in our blood, as the adrenalin begins to flow in response to our being upset. Tiny little catecholamines are released into our blood system that result in an increase in both our heart rate and blood pressure, for instance. We may describe it as our “nerves being on edge”.
“Okay – so what?” you might be asking. The “so what” is that it takes 24 hours for these tiny catecholamines to dissipate to the point that our heart rates and blood pressures get back into a more normal range!
But what happens to us if we get irritated day after day after day? And fresh catecholamines keep surging into our blood system each time we feel stressed out and get “ticked off?”
You’re right. We never get back to the state of rest or relief from the pressure that we need to be able to carry on a “normal day” with our families or at work. The longer we live with the tensions eating away and our bodies, minds and spirits, the worse we will get.
The human body God creates was never designed to keep piling on level after level of stress without negative reactions pushing us to the boiling point day, after day, after day. Eventually we will reach a boiling point, that eventually may be followed by a breaking point.
The stress our modern society is living with today is both different and far beyond what our great-grandfathers and mothers knew. Their stress was more physical than ours. Without the plethora of modern conveniences we now see as essential to life, they worked long, physically difficult hours day after day to provide the most basic necessities for their families – just to put food on the table and have a roof over their head.
Today, our stress more often stems from the mental and emotional challenges we face to keep ourselves and our families going … and it is the mental and emotional facets of our lives that are “eating our lunch” literally and figuratively day after day. All those tiny rocks and pebbles of resistance we meet each day can begin to develop into rocks, and then before we know it – become huge stones that no man can move!
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:1-6, NASB
These words from the Gospel of John are the same words Jesus spoke to His disciples just hours before He went to the cross and grave can give us new hope every moment of every day. He was preparing His beloved friends and family for life after the Resurrection. A life that is possible for each of us to live as we look to Him as both our Savior and Lord.
An easy life? No, not hardly! Jesus knew that for you and I to function in this kind of world, we need to look to Him to roll away the stones in our lives because we cannot do it on our own! All the pleasures and material goods of this world won’t do it either!
It is only as we choose to believe in Him and live as His disciples that we can learn to make the most of every day – even on those hard, impossible days that seem to have no end.
By walking with Jesus and looking to Him each day –especially on the worst days – and following His teachings with faith in HIm, we will learn to live as victors over whatever comes our way. Because He has overcome the world, we can also. Because He lives we can face any today and every tomorrow, no matter what each day may hold, and become a stronger, more loving person, ready to share the hope, joy and peace so few people know today.
27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’” John 14 NASB
33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16, NASB
We have choices every day to live victimized by the circumstances of our lives that surround us – or to believe the words of Jesus and live as overcomers in this life. Joshua put it this way,
“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the (Nile) River, or the gods of the Amorites (pagan believers) in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15, NASB
Whatever we choose to worship is how we choose to live. What say you?