“I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear.” (Psalm 143:4 NLT)
It’s amazing how one lump of putty can mimic life.
Though I can’t imagine many kids being satisfied with it now, Silly Putty™ provided hours of entertainment when I was a child. Unlike Play-Doh™, which would turn hard and crumble if left uncovered, Silly Putty maintained its elasticity.
Sunday was the most exciting day for using Silly Putty. Comics had their very own section and were printed in colour. Pulling the Silly Putty until it was stretched thin and then pressing it on a comic strip resulted in a colour picture on the wad of putty.
More than forty years later, I’ve discovered that Silly Putty mimics life. Life episodes have caused me to say or think what the psalmist said: “I am losing all hope.” I’ve been pulled and contorted into all types of shapes and sizes by stressful circumstances.
STRESS means Struggle, Tension, Restlessness, Expectations, Stretching, and Satisfaction. When I’m stressed, I Struggle — perhaps with which decision to make. Sometimes, wrong and right are clear-cut, but at other times, they aren’t.
Stressful situations have a way of unloading Tension. I find myself wound up like a top that needs someone to let it unwind.
Stress almost always has an inherent Restlessness about it, because I need to decide or change my mind, or because I’m thrown into uncontrollable circumstances.
Expectations can allow stress in — unrealistic expectations of myself, but often those of others that I must endure.
Stretching is a normal part of stress. If I weren’t being stretched — willingly or unwillingly — I wouldn’t feel the stress.
If I respond to all the previous characteristics positively, I’ll experience Satisfaction. Stress isn’t inherently negative. The way that I respond determines the outcome. Stress can teach me new ways to handle circumstances, and it can prepare me to handle life — but only if I approach stressful situations from a godly viewpoint.
The psalmist took his stress to God. Letting God take control and teach us the proper way to respond are the only ways to come out ahead in stressful circumstances. Otherwise, we’ll find ourselves trying to handle stress in sinful ways, which will only intensify our stress level and set us up for further complications.
Are we handling stress like Play-Doh or Silly Putty?
Prayer: Father, when times of stress stretch us, stretch us toward Yourself. Amen.
Copyright © 2022, by Martin Wiles <firstname.lastname@example.org>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA
Reprinted from PresbyCan with author’s permission