We continued the "Stressed Out" series this week at WNW. We opened up with a worship set including: "Like A Lion" (Crowder), "Our God" (Tomlin), and "How He Loves" (Crowder). For our prayer time we focused on praying for the people of Greenville that we will minister to this summer at Fuge. We spent time praying that God will begin working in their hearts now to receive His Word through our ministry opportunities.
I began the message with a brief recap of the previous week. We then discussed the things that had stressed the students out this week. We had several responses such as test, school decisions, anticipation of certain upcoming events, etc. We went through and eliminated the ones that are thing we can actually control. We then began thinking about how sometimes we stress over things that we bring on ourselves, while other times we stress over situations that are beyond our control.
I took a moment to summarize the rest of chapter 12 that we did not cover the previous week, as well as chapter 13 and the beginning of 14. I shared that in the beginning of chapter 14 is the first war in the Bible. There is a 4-king alliance who has oppressed a 5-king alliance. The 5-king alliance was forced to regularly pay money and good to the 4-king alliance. After 12 years of this the 12-king alliance got tired of it and began to rebel. The rebellion only lasted a year and the 4-king alliance fought back, seized goods from Sodom and Gomorrah, and captured Abraham's nephew Lot. At this point Lot faced slavery, torture, and possibly even death.
We read Genesis 14:11-16; 19-20. Someone, probably one of Lot's men, escapes and tells Abraham the terrible news that his nephew has been captured. We do not read anything about the stress Abraham dealt with but we can safely assume there was some stress involved. Abraham faced a situation that was beyond his control. He did not bring on these circumstances himself. However he did what he needed to do, which was take a group of men and defeat this 4-king alliance and rescue Lot. After they achieve success, they praise God for what He has done.
So how do you deal with stressful situations that are beyond your control? We looked at the following things to help in those times.
1) Have a Positive Outlook
Abraham's courage came from past encounters he had with God. When facing these situations, think about past times when God helped you through. We do not get the sense that Abraham whined at all about the situation he faced. You might not feel like having a positive attitude, but it definitely helps in moving forward.
2) Trust God
Abraham only took 318 soldiers into battle. He trusted that God would help him. This does not mean that you can make stupid decisions, but have faith that God will guide you through it.
3) Trust In The Outcome
Abraham had not guarantee of the outcome. However he went in to battle because it was the right thing to do. This time it worked out the way he wanted. However we are not promised that the outcome will be what we want. We can rest assured that God can make good of whatever the outcome turns out to be. There are going to be plenty of times where things do not turn out the way we would choose, but we can know that God is still at work in those situations.
4) Allow God To Lead Your Reaction
You should not react abruptly. You should also not sit back without a plan. Abraham allowed God to lead him to take action. Sometimes God will lead you to take action in a situation when you do not want to and would rather sit back. Other times God will lead you to remain still while He is at work. Whatever the case may be, allow God to lead you how to react during these stressful time.
We closed in prayer asking God to help us when we are faced with situations beyond our control. I prayed that if any of the students are currently in one of those seasons of life that they would remain positive, trust God and the outcome, and to allow Him to lead their reactions.