A visit to my doctor launched him on a search to find the reason for a feeling of heaviness in my chest.
Thankfully, I passed the electrocardiogram with flying colors, but that was just the beginning. I was then scheduled for an echocardiogram and stress test.
Life is filled with stress tests, so we must learn how to handle them.
I had the advantage of knowing the date and time of my stress test appointment. Often stressful situations drop in on us without warning. Consider the disciples of Jesus during a fierce storm on the Sea of Galilee. Strong winds piled waves high and the boat was in danger of going down.
Alarmed at their apparent peril, these seasoned fishermen panicked, crying out to their Lord in fear and questioning His care. I’ve been with people who in stressful times thought God had forsaken them, but this is never the case. He has guaranteed He will be with us during every trial and test. (Hebrews 13:5)
Stressful times are opportunities to exercise faith.
How do you react when trouble comes? Do you become pessimistic? Depressed?
Angry with God? Unpleasant to be around because you lash out at others, maybe even those closest to you?
Few people have difficulty believing God is good when things are going well; but things do not always go well. And it is in the stressful times that our faith is put to the test. Others won’t be impressed by how well we do when the sun is shining, but our positive reaction to dark days may convince them our faith is real.
When I entered the lab for my stress test, I met a team of competent people, some of whom were probably going through stress tests of their own. Knowing this was a possibility, I probed for problems they might be facing.
“Are you having a good day?” is a question that has opened a way for me to share my faith with many who have been going through tough times.
In my pocket I carried printed messages of hope to give to any I found stressed out by difficulties they were facing and gave my book “Staying Positive in a Negative World” to others in for testing ... as well as to one technician.
I was confident our meetings were not by chance and that we’d been brought together for their good and mine. (Romans 8:28)
There are no accidents with God and nothing takes Him by surprise. If this thought seems too heavy to handle, take it at face value. Don’t try to understand it, just accept it as proof of God’s love and part of His great plan for us.
A woman sitting in a doctor’s office feared a diagnosis of cancer and struggled to maintain her composure. Then, she says, “I realized this doctor couldn’t tell me anything that God didn’t already know,” and peace came.
Once when Martin Luther was experiencing a stress test, he heard a bird singing its evening song. Finally, he saw the bird tuck its head under its wing and go to sleep. Moved by this tranquil scene, he said: “This little bird has had its supper and is now ready to go to sleep, never troubling itself as to what its food will be or where it will lodge on the morrow.”
Stress flees in the face of faith. And true faith begins in the heart.