There’s this sign standing outside the University Center at UH that simply reads:
Friends Don’t Let Friends
Stress Over Finals
I’ve never actually read the rest of the sign, but those words have stood out to me for the last couple of weeks.
My semester has been a series of personal failures — highlighting new areas where I dramatically fail to meet the standard of “passable” let alone “perfect”. And these last couple weeks of the semester have been particularly stressful. Faced with the consequences of my own laziness and disobedience, I was absolutely overwhelmed and it was hard not to completely give in to depression.
He showed Himself to be Himself — again.
He sent a friend: a lovely young lady I’ve know since high school. We go to different schools now, but we keep in touch (or try).
She called me as I was sinking into the mire and just prayed with me. She reminded me of the goodness of the Lord and at the perfect timing sent this text:
“‘But YOU, O LORD are a GOD merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.’ – Psalm 86:15
HE isn’t just loving and faithful! GOD is “abounding in” love & faithfulness, in how faithful & loving HE is!!
Holy crap!! That’s awesome!!”
She reminded me of who our God is. She pulled up a text describing His character, the nature of His being. The comfort that came was amazing. The God who created the universe, who is so just that He will let no sin go unpunished, who paints with the weather, and sculpts in galaxies — He is also rich! in love and faithfulness. He is so much more than we ever can know or remember Him to be. And in the hours that I struggled to wade through the daunting tasks set before me, this knowledge was absolutely restorative.
Well, tonight I got to remind her — and myself — of what this masterful and gracious and just God has done.
I sent her a text just to see what was going on — and she called me, the weight of stress and pressure to succeed burdened her voice. Amid her series of finals and marathon study sessions she was feeling discouraged. She was studying diligently and working hard, but it seemed like it just wasn’t enough.
So, I reminded her of the instructions she had given me last week – “When you start to feel stressed, just give it to God,” and then we prayed. And as we prayed I remembered:
Jesus Christ, the God-man, who reconciled us back to the Father, experienced stress. He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and sweat blood as the fate of billions fell upon His shoulders. In a matter of hours He would face the intolerable on behalf of the intolerable and He would face it alone. Yet He conquered. He successfully took the punishment for the sins of all who believe, and forever removed the sting and victory of death. He rose victoriously, never to die again, and to bring new life to the world.
Our God – He’s not a God who sits removed and is not familiar with the experiences of those who serve Him. No.
Our God walked among us and suffered for us. He can relate to us – and He cares. He cares.
As your friend, during this time of finals, I pray that you come into a knowledge of Jesus Christ and totally trust in Him. For your everything. For your everything.