The Bible is often a book people turn to in times of great joy or great sadness. It is often used as the basis for our life’s rituals: birth (baptism / christening), marriage, and death. For me though, the Bible has more than just an occasional usage; it is a day to day resource. I find the Bible especially helpful during times of stress. Its words are comfort in life’s storms. It reminds us that we are never alone. It reminds us that we are a single star amongst the blankets of the universe, but that without that single star the night sky would not be the same.
When I feel that the world is pummeling me, and I am feeling unsure, Romans 8:28 flashes into my mind; ” We know that all things work together for good for those who love God who are called according to his purpose.” This scripture reminds me that if I have done my best, then I can let go after that: If it is meant to be it will be. My daughter and I will actually even use this reminder phrase, “Romans 8:28” to remind each other that we can relax.
Another favorite scripture during times of stress is Luke 12:22-31: “. . . ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the raven; they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet he feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you – you of little faith. . .” This scripture is a reminder of God’s love for all living things and thus a reminder of His love for me. The use of nature in this scripture immediately calms my stress levels and reminds me to focus on my blessings. Tomorrow shall be whatever God has planned it to be and therefore well beyond my control.
This feeling of a greater plan larger than I is further emphasize in Psalm 139: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; . . . For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb . . . In your books were written all the days that were formed for me when none of them as yet existed . . .” A greater plan means, for me, that all I do, all that struggle to change, is already set, already planned, already watched over by God. It is consoling to know that my little life is important; that God has thought about me from my conception to the day of my death. This is a reassuring thought. I have a compulsion like many others to control everything, to make things go right, to make everything be ok. These words tell me that truly changing the world is beyond my doing and in the words of a popular bumper sticker I can “Let Go and Let God”.
The Bible has so many other gems. While it is filled with great stories that we should study, it also has great quotes: small nuggets that we can carry with us to get through difficult times. I encourage you to scour through the Biblical pages to find a few scriptures that you can carry with you to ward off difficult times. Read the Bible with a pen or highlighter to mark down the phrases that touch you. Rewrite the scriptures. Carry special ones in your wallet. Post them on your mirrors or the visor in your car. Weave favorite verses into conversations. Hold these gems in your heart and keep them on your lips always.
NOTE: All Bible verses are taken from the New Revised Standard Version.