by Don Ingwerson
I live in an area of the country where a lot of families have lost their homes and businesses because of economic conditions. Kids have changed schools and friends. Moms and dads have new pressures – many outside their control. The deeper I look into my community, region, and nation, the more I observe new and sometimes threatening situations that are developing: reduced school funding, public services not being provided, and lack of resources for safety-net services. The social mood seems to be changing in ways I have never experienced.
According to Alan Hall’s article Bear Market Stress is Weakening Society, “Stress is born of the same fear that drives stock prices lower, tanks economies and escalates foreclosures, and also increases the risk of disease…” He describes foreclosure as “one of the most disruptive and stressful financial calamities that a family can suffer.” Studies even indicate that foreclosures create a public health crisis and harm the health of families and communities.
And Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s Chief Medical Editor, says that, “stress is a huge factor in creating these conditions.”
Probably none of us are surprised by these findings of researchers and authorities. Cultural stresses seem unavoidable and increasingly damaging. It becomes an enormous question for us all: How can the societal conditions that are creating stress and fear be tempered?
Many are finding that opening to a higher, divine power makes emotional situations less stressful.
Recognizing the causes of fear and stress, and thinking through how to address them in thought, is important in improving health. This recognition needs to be at the individual as well as the societal level.
Embracing happiness and replacing negative thoughts with positive ones becomes more powerful and healing by understanding man’s individual relationship with the Divine. This Divine is what Mary Baker Eddy, an early writer on health issues, referred to when she said, “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings.”
I’ve seen this unconditional divine good in operation. Once my family had multiple national and international flight connections to meet, but due to recent severe weather conditions across America the airlines told us that the connections were impossible. Our tickets were non-refundable and amounted to many thousands of dollars. We remained calm in prayer, knowing that whatever happened would bless us. New ideas were presented and a solution from unexpected sources became available. Rather than succumbing to stress, prayer – leaning on the sustaining infinite – brought joy and harmony and all connections were made.
What I find exciting about leaning on God through prayer in times of stress is that it’s not just an option for a limited number of people. God has the infinite capacity to sustain each one of us as we strive to break through limitations of every sort imaginable.