Life is a roller coaster for many people. It certainly is for our young people taking exams. The stress and hard work of revising and preparing for exams is then followed by relief and celebrations when the tests are over. Then the build-up of stress waiting for results is followed by either the elation of doing well or the disappointment of not doing as well as expected. Then there is the question of what to do next. Even those who get a good qualification still face the difficulty of finding a job that will be fulfilling, or that will even just provide enough money to live on. Basically life is stressful, and not just for our young people. It pays to think about how our faith can help us.
Summer is a good time to slow down and check out how things are going in our lives. Firstly we can take rest seriously. The Bible also teaches the importance of taking time to enjoy our surroundings and our relationships with each other. Part of the creation story shows God stepping back from creation and seeing that it is good. This principle of the Sabbath; taking time to appreciate the good things in life, is a great antidote to the pressure to fill our lives with work and activity. Each of us will find different things restful and it is helpful when we understand ourselves enough to know what works for us.
Secondly we can face up to our concerns, but not get into a state of worry that does not give any benefit: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27). We can place our anxieties with God through prayer. This does not make our problems disappear, but it does give us resources to deal with them. Importantly we can have faith and trust in God himself.
There will always be things to worry about in life: whether it is exam results, our own health or that of a friend, finances or the future. We are not called to ignore these things but to bring them to God in prayer. At the same time though, we are encouraged to take time to rest and to enjoy what is good.
Rev Bill Henderson