Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How to Pass a Stress Test

Yesterday my husband had a stress test.  As we headed to the hospital we discussed what we hadn’t told one another – we were stressed about it! Danny and I have been incredibly fortunate to have very little illness and no regular medications. But this test was going to let us know, beyond the shadow of a doubt how his heart really was. It was no longer a “wonder what’s going on”. It was now a “finding out the truth”.

Fortunately for both of us, and all glory to God, the test revealed what we all know – he’s healthy as a horse. The nurses told him he did better than most people half his age! Once the doctor checked the heart while it was racing, they found that his heart muscle was very strong and there was no blockage. Just the kind of results everyone wants.

We’ve put that behind us now. We can relax in the knowledge that all is well. We are encouraged that we are still able to go the distance and stay the course. I’m blessed to know that my husband is healthy and we can move on.

Stress tests are performed daily at our hospital and all across the country. The attendants are used to people responding in many ways. Some insist on quitting at the first sign of exertion. Some faint while on the treadmill. Others have serious heart issues that require the physician to stop the test altogether.  Others, like Danny, stay on the entire time, even as the physician asks if they can handle just a little more.  We know, after having been in the room together that the doctor already knows what the patient’s heart is doing through the EKG, so that while stressful indeed, no one has to go beyond the limits of their heart’s strength.

Stress tests come for believers as well. Although not daily, they are a pretty regular part of our existence. We are doing fine but then we find ourselves in a hard spot, stressed out about both the situation and the outcome.  We may feel we can’t go any further. It’s too much, we’re too tired, it’s been going too long, we might not make it. But the Great Physician knows us and He’s watching over us. The test is not for Him, it’s for us – He knows our frame. He’s so acquainted with us that He knows the outcome of the test of our faith before we even enter into the situation.

The truth is we can either go on or pass the test or we can say give up and quit right in the middle. Either way, the Great Physician is with us – either giving us a “well done” or grabbing us in His loving arms to hold us until the stress is relieved. Even if our strength is weak and our hearts are pounding, God will give us His strength and renew us in Himself.

Maybe you are in a stress test right now. You thought you were headed for clear skies but a storm arrived out of nowhere. Your heart is racing and your blood pressure is elevated. You know God’s Word but you see the situation!  You know God takes care of “all who…” and saves “…everyone” and “loves the world…”, but what about you? Does He really care? Will He really come through? Will you make it?

Oh beloved, God sees your pain and hears the cries of your heart. He’s not deaf and He’s not ignorant – Not only is He with you through this, He’s gone ahead of you to clear the way for victory! This test of your faith is a momentary thing. It’s a quick test in light of eternity. God calls it a “momentary, light affliction” and He promises that it’s producing its weight in glory.  God is your Great Physician and He will never allow any test that won’t ultimately make you better, give you greater strength and turn out for your good and His glory!

The Lord loves you passionately, perfectly and eternally. And He’s for you always, completely and in any situation. And that’s worth getting through the tests and finishing well in Him.


2 Corinthians 4:7 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! (NLT)

Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; test my heart and my mind.  (AMP)

Psalm 119:143 As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in Your commands.

1 Peter 1: 7 So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.  (AMP)

Psalm 61:2 From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (NAS)

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