Today’s headlines, portraying a world seemingly on the verge of self-destruction, were foretold in the Scriptures many years ago.
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. … For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6–8
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Luke 21:25, 26
Not surprisingly, many people are overwhelmed by fear, useless fear. As I see them in the medical office, they are afraid they might die, even to the point that some demand unwarranted medical testing, treatment, and even surgery and hospitalization—in an effort to guarantee what no human can guarantee.
Fear can cause a person to be too worried about his or her health. But even worse is the fact that fear can literally paralyze a person, so they are not able to do the things that they ought to be doing.
Closely allied to fear of death is worry—worry about things that are happening, and worry about things that might happen. Both are useless.
A person must give concern and thought, enough to take appropriate action to meet situations that arise. Once he has done all he can, then he must accept what cannot be changed, and what God will allow.
How can one accept a bad situation and stop worrying?
Prescription for Rest
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30
Jesus is the Burden Bearer. Can you not give Him your heavy burdens in exchange for His light yoke? In the quiet hour of meditation, why not tie up your burdens in a bundle and give them to Jesus? Then quietly wait, and He will give you an assignment for the day.
Who Makes the Agenda for Your Day?
Many people simply try to do too much. It is true that some people are just lazy, but they are not the ones reading this article. Work is important. Work is life. Your work can also be considered your “calling.” But be sure your calling is of God and get your instructions every day. In fact,
- Look at those interruptions carefully. Some of them are special assignments that Jesus is trying to give you.
- Look again at your agenda for the day. Some of those things you must do are not necessary, and simply make up the burden that Jesus wants you to hand over to Him.
“Christ in His life on earth made no plans for Himself. He accepted God’s plans for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. So should we depend upon God, that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will. As we commit our ways to Him, He will direct our steps.” The Ministry of Healing, 479
Are you really willing to hand over your day and your time schedule to Him? If so, your day will be different. You will be busy, maybe busier than you expected, but the yoke will also be light and easy.
Getting the Work Done
Just being a follower of Christ, obeying His great commission, inevitably opens before us the great needs of mankind. How can this work be done and the promise of rest be fulfilled?
“Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37, 38
“And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” Mark 6:31
It is clear that we, the followers of Christ, have a great work to do, but we are not expected to do it all. In fact, Jesus instructs us to pray for more laborers. His promise to be with us is in direct connection with our fulfilling the great commission, and in context, the invitation to rest with Him comes after a period of productive work for Him.
The psychology of work is that a man is most energetic and most effective when impulse strongly urges an action, and his will gives complete and unqualified approval. This response is called integrity and produces interest, confidence, and enthusiasm. There is no fatigue until the muscles themselves get tired.
Conversely, complete and utter fatigue is brought about when impulse strongly urges action, and the will strongly disapproves. The resulting conflict produces fatigue.
Prompt action is often required in daily life, but sometimes the reasoning powers move too slowly, and the will is not enlisted. The action may be performed as required, but accomplished by fear, anger, worry, or dislike. These instinctive reactions introduce inhibitions which require a tremendous amount of energy to overcome. A person can be five times as effective if he is willing and likes his job, and he won’t get tired.
Fatigue is also the cardinal symptom of depression and often is the only symptom. People who are depressed have very weak impulses and find it hard to start any activity. Coping with life is a real problem, and they have a tendency to retreat—not do much, no initiative, sit around and sleep a lot. There is a lack of motivation. The person has given up, and his self-image is low.
Persons who are depressed will actually feel better if they get involved in some activity, especially if it is interesting and vigorous. A good exercise program is one of the best things such a person can engage in.
Depression must be resisted. Another helpful activity is to write down ten things one is thankful for each morning. Thus the day is begun in a grateful, optimistic frame of mind.
When a person is tired, the first thing he thinks about is rest. In many cases rest restores energy so that a person can work efficiently again.
Rooted in the story of Creation is the seven-day week, with the seventh day set aside for rest. Many have attempted to disregard this principle in the drive to make a living, get rich, or accomplish certain goals. It was proved during World War II that factory production actually increased as the work week was shortened from 60 hours to 40 hours.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Exodus 20:8–10
Why Is Sleep Needed?
When the body is denied sleep long enough, the electroencephalogram, a machine that records the brain’s electrical activity, will begin to show repeated sleep spindles. These are episodes of microsleep which last just three to six seconds each, but do add up over a period of time. In many activities they might not be noticed, but are most dangerous when one is driving a car.
One has no control over these microsleep episodes. They occur suddenly and without warning when sleep is lacking. Just a few hours’ sleep will restore alertness.
After as short a time as 36 hours without sleep, there is impaired thinking, loss of attention, and poor memory. Time sense is lost. Eye symptoms occur—itching, burning, blurred vision, and double vision.
With continued sleep loss, perception of reality is weakened; delusions and hallucinations may occur similar to schizophrenia. There is an 80 percent decrease in ability to perform tasks that require accuracy.
If dreaming rapid eye movement or REM sleep is suppressed, irritability or depression can occur, and some persons become severely anxious. Experiments have also shown that dream-deprived subjects are much less able to adapt to stress. REM sleep loss tends to be cumulative, and must be made up in part. It is also thought that memory is consolidated, organized, and corrected during REM sleep.
Sleeping is closely bound to the daily cycle of life. If the sleeping habits are irregular, such as having to work a night shift from time to time, a person may become hyperirritable, critical, irrational, or even childish. The sleep pattern may require up to two weeks to return to normal.
How to Sleep Well
- Keep active during the day. Moderate-to-vigorous exercise is most helpful. Nothing promotes sleep like being tired physically.
- Go to bed on an empty stomach. Supper had best be a light meal, and at least several hours before bedtime, so that digestion is completed.
- Have a regular time for sleep. You will tend to get sleepy at the same time every night.
- Avoid drugs. Avoid drinks containing caffeine, which will keep you awake. Get off sleeping pills that suppress REM sleep. Alcohol is also a drug, and will suppress REM sleep even in small amounts.
- Be at peace with God and your fellow man. “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Remember, you are trading in your burdens of fear, worry, insecurity, compulsion to work all the time, lack of time, and your health problems. In exchange, He has an assignment for you that is “light and easy,” and He promises rest.
With Jesus as Lord of your life, you will have time to eat two or three meals every day, time to exercise and enjoy recreation with family and friends, and time to keep Sabbath holy.
[All scripture taken from the King James Version]
Health for Today, Hope International ©1991, Hubert F. Sturges, M.D., 14–16.