Encountering God in the Midst of Stress
The Old Testament priest was confronted daily with the impact of personal and moral failure as he oversaw the giving of offering to God for the wrong that was done. The animal sacrifices involved made the temple a bloody, messy place – just like the messy places in our lives.
How could the priest continue to do his ministry day after day? Sure he “worked” for God, which was meaningful in itself, but the daily grind could feel too much to bear…
My sense is he remembered the times when he personally encountered God. He remembered the cleansing he received for his sin. He remembered the experience of encountering a merciful, compassionate God.. He remembered the sweet smell of incense in the temple that reminded him of the very presence of God.
Psalm 63: 1-3
“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.”
In this season of stress, I have been reminded to encounter the living God. How?
1. By remembering His mercy and tenderness from His Word, the Bible:
Psalm 103: 8-10, 13-14 New Living Translation (NLT)
“The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.”
2. By turning my attention to God in praise. Jesus gave us the model
Matthew 6: 9-10 NLT
“Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
2. I increased my intake of the praise and worship music that has refocused me in the past: Favorite artists: Terry Clark, CeCe Winans, Phil Driscoll, Ron Kenoly, Darlene Zschech, Hillsong, Tommy Walker, etc.
3. Finally, I spent more time in prayer and intimacy with God.
Rejoicing in His goodness, praising Him for who He is and what He has done, being thankful, reflecting on how far He has brought us.
One pastor said, I need more intimacy time with God as we go through and come out of Covid. I leave my office at mid-day, just to spend more time with Him.
1. Remember Him in His Word
2. Increase Praise
3. Spend time in prayer and intimacy
After that, we will see the sun rise again (see picture) and have renewed hope and strength for the future!