What does the Bible say about stress? According to Scripture, why does God allow stress?
It can be really confusing when you read the Bible and learn about God’s peace but your life is still extremely stressful.
Thankfully, there are some subtle changes Christians can make in their life that will create a huge difference in overcoming stress.
By identifying these 4 causes of stress and then following the biblical solutions, you can experience a lot more internal peace.
1. God Allows Stress to Force Healthy Changes
One fact that Christians often forget about their feelings is that God has given them to us for a good reason. So often we see our feelings as the problem. When we feel stressed, we focus on the stress and just try to make it go away.
This is like hearing the smoke alarm in your house and then trying to solve this issue by smashing the smoke alarm. Yes, the alarm is very loud and annoying, but it’s going off for a very good reason. If you don’t address the real reason the smoke alarm is going off, your house is going to burn down.
Likewise, stress can be very loud and annoying. But stress is like an alarm that is going off for a good reason. If you just try to ignore your stress without addressing the root cause of that stress, your life is going to burn down.
Look at those who came to Jesus for a miracle (Mark 10:46-52). All of them had an issue that was causing them stress. But this stress caused them to seek Jesus so he could help them solve the root issue to their stress. Their stress was used to motivate them to find healing.
In love, God is using your stress to lovingly warn you that something unhealthy is going on in your life that needs to change.
2. God Allows Stress to Root Out Hidden Sins
I’m not saying all stress is because of hidden sin. But it is a very common cause for stress.
For example, in Psalm 32:1-5, we see how God allowed David to experience immense stress because David was not confessing his sins. Only when David addressed this issue did God then replace the stress with peace.
Stress is like the engine gauge on your car’s dashboard. If it’s redlining, it’s a sign your engine is about to blowup. The gauge is not the problem. Something is wrong under the hood.
3. God Allows Stress to Increase Your Prayers
Just as feeling hungry is your body’s natural cue that you need to eat, so too is stress your soul’s natural cue that you need to pray. Notice how Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) connects anxiety to a lack of prayer and peace to an abundance of prayer:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Sometimes we need to change something in our life, and then the stress will leave. But at other times, the circumstances around us are not going to change. Notice the promise in this passage. God has commanded us to always pray, but he has not promised to always change our circumstances. Rather, he has always promised to bless our prayers with more peace in Christ.
Are you stressed because someone you love is suffering? This is a call to intercessory prayer for them. Are you stressed because you don’t know how you will pay the rent? This is a sign you must pray to God about this need in your life. Are you stressed because your life is running you ragged? This is a sign you must seek the healing presence of God through solitude and prayer.
4. God Allows Stress So You Can Be a Blessing to Others
We all want to be used greatly by God. We all want to be immensely helpful to other people. And we all want to leave a legacy behind us, going to heaven and hearing, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
But the path to usefulness is often a path full of stress. Just as your muscles need to be stressed so that they will then grow back even stronger, so too does God allow stress in our lives so that the pressure might help transform us into useful soldiers for Christ.
Stress is often God’s chisel as he forms us into his masterpiece; he will then use us to bless other people (Ephesians 2:10). As 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 states:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”