Nanci and I have definitely seen God use stress in our life. In this video, I share more:
Not that we wished for stress, because we never did. It came anyway. Certainly there was the stress of raising young children. We had two well-behaved little girls. But were they a handful? Sure, at times. You know how kids are. :) There’s the normal kind of stresses in life.
We found ourselves facing some things like my becoming an insulin-dependent diabetic. I have a disease that at times can have fairly serious symptoms. We’ve been able to live a normal life, but certainly there’s stress involved.
We had the stress related to my taking a stand on the abortion issue, in peaceful, non-violent disobedience at abortion clinics. I had the stress of seeing my picture on the front page of the Sunday Oregonian. Everybody was asking me, “What are you doing out there? You stand there with a Bible, and you’re reading outside of an abortion clinic?” I’ve had the stress of major lawsuits, and the stress of going to jail for a few days, being arrested seven times or so.
Those things took a toll on us. On the other hand, we really learned from them to say, “You know what? This is life in a world under the curse. One day this world will be delivered from the curse.” But it helped us to know that God has called us to do some things in life, and not all of them are going to be popular or easy.
Some of the things that have created stress are things that we’ve chosen, and we felt God’s leading to do so. Other stressful things God has brought into our lives or allowed into our lives (or whatever terminology you want to use). The fact is, God is sovereign and has a purpose and an intention. He has used those things to bring about perseverance and character-growth, to help us learn joy, love, and dedication to our family and ministry.
One of the stresses that Nanci and I found was the number of people who really questioned the choices that we made related to intervening for the unborn, even people at our own church. Some were wonderfully supportive; others felt we were doing the wrong thing. We learned that some of the stresses in life come from doing what’s unpopular. But at the end of the day, we had to practice what Peter wrote about—entrusting ourselves to a faithful Creator who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23). We had to say, let’s live our lives in the sight of the Audience of One and seek to please Him.
Realize that stresses can come. But in the end, God will use them to bring us into conformity to the image of Christ. God will also bring great good out of them—and in fact, Nanci and I can testify that He has brought great good out of the stresses in our own lives.
Photo credit: ajmac via sxc.hu