You're doing your morning devotional when your child runs in screaming, they need your attention, your blood pressure rises rapidly and a calm situation is taken over by stress. You're looking through your finances, wondering how you're going to cover the MOT this month when your phone pings with a BBC News update - energy prices are rising again in April, stress takes over. You've gone for a coffee with a friend, they tell you that they've been to the doctor that week and were informed they have cancer, a mother and baby sit next to you and the baby is screaming in your ear - you feel overwhelmed, stress floods your entire body, it is too much.
We live in an incredibly stressful world, from mental health issues at an all-time peak, relationship breakdowns, wars, natural disasters - how are we supposed to function in a world of stress, let alone trust that God is still in control?
Jesus was overwhelmed by stress a number of times in the Bible - we are told in Luke 22:43-44 while Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane that he was so overcome with anguish, he was sweating droplets of blood. His body was so overcome with stress, it wasn't coping.
There are times when we cannot escape from stress, perhaps in a work situation where a colleague needs support right in that exact moment, when an incident happens while you're driving or a family member is taken ill. However, it is important to remember that when Jesus faced stressful situations in the Bible, when the demands of people became too much - he took time to withdraw and pray. "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." (Luke 5:16)
We were made by a loving God, one who wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives, and we were created to need dependence on Him. We cannot function alone, when we try to - our world spirals out of control.
In those stressful moments, when life feels unbearable - withdraw and pray. Take yourself to another space, and cry out to God that it is too much - He needs to take it from here. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28-30)
I don't know about you, but I often struggle with telling others about the stress I try to carry. I know they are carrying their own baggage, so who am I to laden them with my worries too. Perhaps sometimes we feel they won't understand, or more than that - why should they care about what we are facing?
And yet, the creator of the universe desperately yearns for you to go to Him. The verse does not say 'go to your friend, your partner, your parent, your colleague and if no one else is available then maybe come here as a last resort. No, he says ''Come to me..." He wants to be our first port of call. He knows he is the only one who can carry you through this, He knows what is about to come, and He is the One who is waiting for you at the finish line.
In those stressful times of life, which may be coming in their thousands at the moment, remember the simple advice from Jesus, to - withdraw and pray. We need that space. We need those moments with God. Physically, mentally and spiritually our bodies were created to need Him, and He is the only one who promises to give us rest.
"This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles." Psalm 34:6
Contributed by Hannah Pearce (Comms Manager)