As I blog, people's stories keep impacting me. Oh, the power of personal story! Often striking me with such raw honesty, specific experience, and (especially) spiritual insight. That's so with an email I received in November 2007. It began: "Here's my problem. I suffer from stress and anxiety...." Out tumbled one man's story of trying to cope with financial demands, family concerns, and health worries. The dictionary defines anxiety as "a state of apprehension and uncertainty" but this man lives it. Not only does he speak eloquently for the great majority of us, but his question about God's promises really hit hard too. He said that he really wanted God's promises of peace to work for him, and yet so often he was left as anxious as ever. Was this his fault?
What a powerful way into the subject of stress and anxiety! I plan to begin with this email on Sunday. From this real, local, life-story we see the problem writ large, and face a key spiritual question, on our way to seize the promise: Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
Thank you for all your stories - I believe they help me to preach better! Please keep sharing them.