Hong Kong is a high-pressure environment and levels of stress are high across the board. From trying to secure a place in a top kindergarten to the challenges of managing multinational corporations, stress is common across the city. Stress is often experienced in short spells when we face particular challenges and difficulties, perhaps around exam season or as work deadlines approach. For some, stress may have become an all too familiar daily experience as we juggle to hold life together while trying to maintain composure before friends and family. Stress is often experienced when things go wrong and the threat of failure is mounting. But we can experience stress at the best of times too, when we’re striving to be at the top of our game and to make our dreams come true.
Stress ultimately comes when we feel powerless or fearful about something that is important to us. Personal inability or weakness is often at the heart of my stress; anxiety comes when we are not strong enough to do the things we feel we must do. Just think about it. Don’t we often think that our problems could be solved if only I had more power or influence? If I had enough money or ability then I wouldn’t have to feel this anxious. But that’s precisely the problem. My stress is rooted in looking inward. I stress when I feel powerless in the face of significant issues.
Thank God there is a better way. The Bible does not tell those who are weak to be strong. Instead, Jesus tells the anxious to cast their cares upon him. Such worry is not able to add a single hour to our life (Luke 12:25). We are, instead, to know the abundant love our Father God has for us.
Are you afraid? Do not be brave. Rather, look to the light of the world who has vanquished evil Are you feeling weak? Do not strive to be strong. Rather, look to Jesus who can do whatever he pleases. Do you have too much to do? Do not sleep less and work more. Rather, rest in your heavenly Lord’s good provision. Are those around you in need? Do not be their salvation. Rather, look together to God who loves his people. In all things, pray to God with thanksgiving and praise, knowing that he is working all things for the good of those who love him.
We tend to despise our weakness and human limitation. The Bible invites us to a better way. The way of Jesus embraces human frailty and directs us to the might of God. Paul the apostle says, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9) Learning to entrust myself, in all my helplessness, to the Lord is the only true and lasting solution to life’s anxieties.
We are not always quick to take this instruction to heart. Thankfully, the Lord gives us brothers and sisters to help us along the way. Our prayer is that at St. Andrew’s, you will know the blessing of a church family who walks with you through all the anxieties and pressures of life.
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens, Psalm 68:19.