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'Are You Stressed About Stress?'
by Travis Wiginton
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I came across a letter this week that was written to us in 1973.
It was from Mrs. John Abernathy, a retired missionary living in Arkansas,
informing us of her husband's death.

Her letter brought back memories of this precious couple who had to leave China due to Communism. They arrived in South Korea, but the Korean War broke out and they had to flee to the Philippines for safety.

When they arrived there, they sent a telegram to our Foreign Mission Board to let them know of their safe arrival. It read: "Arrived Philippines...no baggage...no bullet holes".

While working on this paper about Stress, I thought about the old time missionaries and how they had to face tremendous stress!! Even though missionaries in this day and time have e-mail, they also face the risk of increased terrorists' attacks, so they too have tremendous stress!

Just this week, we rec'd an e-mail from dear friends who have been on our weekly mailing list from the very beginning. They wrote saying, "We hate to ask you this, but we know that you understand. Due to recent kidnappings in our region, it would be best if you remove our name from your mailing list."
(We removed their name from our mailing list.... but NOT from our Prayer List...
as we pray daily for them, their work for the Lord and their safety!)

We went to Korea in 1960 (just 7 yrs. after the War) and had to deal with stress in many different areas, but probably nothing compared to what older missionaries endured.

Most of So. Korea had been totally destroyed as the War reversed itself 2 or 3 times, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives, as well as homes. Though we went to Korea to minister, the courage and resiliency of the Korean Christians ministered to us!

As I thought back about our time there, I think that being 'younger' probably helped us handle stress a bit better....(at least better than our current age).

We can't seem to handle even watching the news on TV without feeling stress building up as it seems to 'linger in our minds' much longer than when we were younger!
Case in point:There was a tragedy here in Norman last night (3 older ladies killed in their home near the OU campus) and it has been so difficult to get that off our minds.

Stress is part of EVERYONE's life....in one way or another.
One stress that happens to each of us....is 'growing older and facing death'.

Our youngest son, Kyle, called earlier this week, asking if we had heard the song...
'Don't Blink' (by Kenny Chesney). It tells about a 102 yr. old man who was asked questions about 'life' and the old man replied, "Don't blink".

It was so poignant for Kyle to tell us about it as 4 close friends died this week!

On Tuesday our son, Kevin came by for me and we attended the funeral of a long time friend, Keith Wilhite (70 yrs. of age). Our son Kevin and Keith's son, Marty were in each other's weddings and Keith's daughter, Lisa is our daughter Kristin's good friend.

Throughout the service, they played recordings of 'The Noblemen' quartette singing.
Keith started that quartette many yrs. ago with his 3 sons...who now live/perform in Branson, Mo.

I looked around at so many friends who were there and wondered...."Who will be next?"

So I came home from Keith's funeral, thinking about this paper and I want to share:
'Helps for the Stress of Growing Older....and Facing Death'.

However, much of the stress is taken away because of our faith in Christ Who....
conquered sin, death and the grave.
He has never disappointed me....and I know that He will not disappoint me then!

The stress we have is for the 'here and now'.
Here are some suggestions to help us with stress:

1) The 'LIFT OF LOVE was the title of last week's paper.
Knowing we are loved...takes a lot of stress out of life.
I love the old song 'No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus'.

2) A 'LEAP OF FAITH' into the arms of God.
If God can save us, then He can take care of lesser concerns in our lives.

3) GOD'S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT for everything that I need or face. (II Cor. 12:9)

4) THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD. (Psalms 23 and 37)
Both of these Psalms were written by David who (as a teenager as well as his entire life) went through stressful times. In order for him to have victory over stress, he HAD to know and experience the forgiving and restoring God of Psalm 51.

We also need to know Psalm 37 and Psalm 51...and of course the 23rd Psalm.

When David was a teenager, he faced the giant and said...
"I come to you in the name of the Lord".
He probably knew some of the Old Testament names for God.
It helped him...and it will help us!

1) Jehovah-Jirah: 'The Lord will provide' (Gen. 22:13-14)
2) Jehovah-Rapha: 'The Lord Who heals' (Exodus 15:26)
3) Jehovah-Shalom: 'The Lord our Peace' (Judges 6:24)
4) Jehovah-Tsidkenu: 'The Lord our Righteousness' (Jeremiah 23:6)
5) Jehovah-Shammah: 'The Lord ever-present' (Ezekiel 48:35)
6) Jehovah-Nissi: 'The Lord our banner' (Exodus 17: 8-15)
7) Jehovah-Ra-ah: 'The Lord my Shepherd' (Psalms 23:1)

It takes more than knowing the names for God.
We must fall in love with God, the Three in One.....Father, Son and The Holy Spirit.

La Moyne has been a great help-meet for me in my ministry these 54 yrs.
She has blessed many with her singing, starting back in her early teens.
One of the songs that people requested often, was her version of 'The Love of God'.
In fact, that was the song she sang for Dr. Shelby Collier (Dir. of the International Choir @ Wayland University) when he gave her a voice scholarship for college.

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue nor pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints and angels song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
Gods love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adams race
The saints and angels song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

La Moyne closed this song each time, by singing the words of 'Amazing Grace'...
to the tune of the chorus of 'The Love of God'.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
(Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound)
How measureless and strong!
(That saved a wretch like me)
It shall forevermore endure
(I once was lost, but now I'm found)
The saints and angels song.
(Was blind but now I see.)

With His Amazing Grace (and Love) the following is very true:
'When you are 'hanging by a thread' ....you'll find the hem of His garment'.

'If you are at the end of your rope, tie a Prayer knot and hang on...
for the Lord is just a Prayer away.'

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God is Not Against You - He Came on an All Out Rescue Mission to Save You

...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19

Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38


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Member Comments
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Sharon McClean 06 Sep 2007
Another beautiful and comforting article Travis. Our God reigns and He is full of mercy and compassion. I believe that is where you two get yours. (smile) I love you, Sharon


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