"Christ in Gethsemane" by Heinrich Hofmann, oil, 1886 public domain

Speaking Out: Jesus offers cure for stress

By  Alister Vaz, Youth Speak News
  • January 20, 2017

Whether at school or work, one thing we all have in common is responsibilities, and with this comes a lot of stress.

When I went back to university in January and after two weeks of a restful break, my life became busy again. In one week I had to complete class assignments, find a place to rent for next year, buy textbooks, look for a summer job and complete tasks for my extra-curricular activities. All these things caught me off guard and I felt like I was losing control.

At the end of the week, I went walking alone to reflect on my week. I came to the realization that there was a time when Jesus also felt stressed.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, before He was arrested, He was dealing with a lot of stress and fear. In Matthew 26:38, Jesus tells His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

I find it amusing how Jesus, a man who gave people sight and calmed storms, opened himself up to His disciples and asked them to keep watch with Him. It is so easy to forget that even though Jesus was divine, He was also human.

Jesus provides a strong message to us of the importance of asking others for support. I’m usually a person who likes to keep things to myself, but I am slowly learning to rely on other people, sharing my thoughts and asking for their prayers.

Life becomes less stressful when you can openly share your feelings with people you trust, whether it is your parents, a close friend or your pastor. Like Jesus, we too should be humble enough to ask for help and honest enough to share our feelings with others.

Sometimes in the midst of school or work, we are so preoccupied with the tasks we have to complete that we forget about our relationship with God. Even if it’s not a formal prayer, it is so important to have a daily reflection. Like Jesus, we need to ask God for strength and courage to face our challenges.

The most important thing we can take from this passage is Jesus’ ability to surrender. He was so scared He was sweating blood and even asked God to spare him of the suffering. But Jesus asked for God’s will to be done and accepted His death without resistance or fear.

We, too, need to take the leap of faith. We must surrender the things that stress us out and trust that God will see us through.

Asking for support from others and making time to talk to God are important, but the only way we can find true peace is by offering it up to God.

I feel like the story of Jesus’ death would not resonate with me as much as it did if He didn’t feel worried and stressed about it. He showed me that by relying on strength from God, we can overcome anything. We can only do our best and have faith that God will do the rest.

(Vaz, 18, is a first-year accounting and financial management student at University of Waterloo.)

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