If you’ve ever felt like your whole life has been uprooted and you have no idea how you’ll make it to the next day, take heart from the Turner’s Oak—a 16-meter-tall giant planted in 1798 and now thriving in the Royal Botanic Kew Gardens, just south of London. In the 1980s, it was sickly and looked like it might die. Then on the 16th of October, 1987, the Great Storm hit parts of the United Kingdom, France, and the Channel Islands. It may have been the worst storm to hit since 1703 and knocked over 15 million trees in the south of England in just one hour. Among its victims was the Turner’s Oak. The wind lifted the tree by its shallow root plate completely out of the ground, violently shook it, and then set it back down again like a giant hand lifting a wine glass up by its stem and then plopping it back on the table.
Thousands of pages have been written about the subject of stress, so I wonder if there’s really anything new I could possibly say to help someone who is struggling with it. Most likely not. I myself am still fighting that “beast” that tries to pull me down and take away my joy of living.
Do you ever feel like, in order to meet your own expectations and those of others, you’d have to work relentlessly, push through the tired, ignore the stress—and you still might come up short? The demands will always outweigh the resources. Just thinking about this is stressful, yet it is under exactly this stress that we spend most of our time.
This year, we’ve seen an unprecedented number of lives upended by the COVID-19 health crisis, and far too many are still being impacted.
One of my favorite games involves pulling things apart. It’s a high-risk game, as no matter how awesomely you’re doing, things can go wrong very quickly, and then it’s all over.
A game of Jenga begins with a tower of crisscrossing wooden blocks stacked on top of each other, three in one direction in each level, covered by three in the alternate direction in the next level, and so on.
Over the years, my backpack has taken a lot of abuse. I’ve taken it out in the blazing sun and in the pouring rain, around my neighborhood and on overseas trips. It’s gone with me to humanitarian projects and on holidays. In fact, almost everywhere I’ve gone, so has my bag.
Christmas is a great time for giving, getting together with old friends and new, and rediscovering the importance of family and of spirituality. But Christmas can also be hectic and even frustrating if we don’t manage our time and our moods correctly. I know.
Sometimes we get sick, but most of the time we can stay healthy in spite of constantly being under attack from a myriad of harmful viruses and bacteria. For that daily miracle, we can thank God, who created our immune system.
I killed our van. I was driving along at the peak of summer—and also at the peak of rush hour—completely lost. In the middle of crawling traffic, my air conditioner stopped working. I thought it was just bad luck that I was stuck in traffic and my car had no AC, so I did what I often do when things are going wrong: I powered through.
Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit,1 and God has commissioned us to care for them well and faithfully. Jesus paid the ultimate price to make us His own, so we should show our gratitude by investing in our health. Taking good care of our bodies and health is a natural outgrowth of loving ourselves and appreciating the gift of life that God has given to us.