Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Monday, January 22 - Reducing Worry

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” — Isaiah 40:31

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Al Davis, late owner of the Oakland Raiders NFL team, was famous for saying, “Just win, baby!” And while his teams did win a lot of games, the pressure to win was constant and heavy. Head coach John Madden developed an ulcer as he dealt with the pressure. Madden retired from coaching at a relatively young age and chose a lower-stress career as a television announcer and commentator for many years.

Stress can cause great strain to the body. From causing insomnia, digestive issues, headaches, breathing and blood pressure issues, to anxiety, depression, mood and overall well-being, stress is no long-term friend. But we can trust in God’s faithfulness to walk with us through all that we face.

When Daniel was arrested for praying to the one true God in his own home, King Darius couldn’t sleep for the entire night as he worried about Daniel in the lions’ den. Meanwhile, Daniel slept peacefully among hungry, vicious lions because he trusted God completely to take care of him. Daniel was in this predicament because jealous men tricked the king into throwing Daniel in there to be eaten by the lions. Darius regretted putting Daniel in the lions’ den because he knew Daniel was his best advisor and he knew Daniel hadn’t done anything wrong. Was it possible that Daniel’s God could keep him alive?

After a sleepless night, Darius rushed the next morning to see if perhaps Daniel survived the night. “Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den” (Daniel 6:18-19). The stress was more than he could bear. But Daniel, who trusted God through it all, had news for Darius. “When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?’ Daniel answered, ‘May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty’” (Daniel 6:20-22).

In a similar way, Peter went to sleep peacefully in a prison one night after he was arrested for preaching the Gospel. They tried to stop him from telling people about Jesus, but Peter wasn’t afraid. “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. ‘Quick, get up!’ he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists” (Acts 12:5-7).

As God brought Daniel and Peter through difficult circumstances, the Lord continues to carry us through all of our situations. Though we may not understand what’s happening, God is always reliable and we can trust God’s infinite wisdom and power to help us overcome whatever we face. Isaiah 40:31 tells us that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

We all face stress, but the question is whether you turn to God to get you through, or depend on your own strength. You’ll get through it with God, but will wear out and burn out if you depend only on yourself.

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia

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