Stress and Distress: Cumulative Stress: When Giants Keep Coming

Sunday Sermon Series Stress and Distress

2 Samuel 21-22

We’ve already looked at circumstantial stress and relational distress. Today we look at cumulative stress, stress that just piles up. The Holmes-Ray Stress Inventory is a scale that rates how stressful certain life events typically are. When you add up all your stress over the past year, they say that if your score is 350+ you are likely to have a breakdown in the next two years. Stress can really add up and affect lives. 

Cumulative stress means stress that accumulates in your life. We can handle one or two stressors in our lives, but what do we do when stressful events seem to pile up? You probably know that David killed a Philistine giant named Goliath. Did you know there were other Philistine giants who attacked David and his men? What do you do when the giants keep coming? … Wait, just how big were these giants and is this possible to be that tall? We’re told Goliath was 9 feet tall. Even in recent history there was a man, Robert Wadlow, who was 8’11” and still growing when he died at only 22 years old. Wadlow was a rather skinny man but weighed over 400 pounds just because he was so tall. Imagine how much Goliath and these other giants must have weighed as warriors likely with broad shoulders and large muscles. Well, he was a descendent of Rafa and had brothers and cousins. Some of them were also giants and they attacked Israel. 

How do you deal with cumulative stress? 

  1. Lean on your relationship with other people (2 Samuel 21:15-22). … David had help from other people in defeating these giants. He had a group of warriors known as David’s Mighty Men. These men were incredibly loyal to David. Why? Well, he had shown his willingness to die for them and now they show their willingness to die for him. … None of these men were perfect and neither was David. They all were sinners and had flaws, but they were loyal to each other and to God.

  2. Lean on your relationship with God (2 Samuel 22:1-7, 17-210). … David sang Psalm 18 to God. This where he writes the psalm. David recalls what has happened and praises God for saving him as David called out to God in distress. 

One more thing: Committing your life to God will increase some stress in your life. Our goal is not stress-free living. Our goal is to follow even if that causes us greater distress. … Following Jesus will introduce certain new stresses but it will also get rid of other stresses that are caused by sin. 

Adoniram Judson, one of the more well-known missionaries, was serving in a dangerous location in India. He was in love with a woman, Anne. He sent a letter to her parents asking their permission to marry her and take her to this dangerous place where they could die any number of ways. It had to have been stressful writing that letter, reading the letter, and allowing their daughter to go. Serving in such a place also must have been stressful. Eventually Anne would die of a sickness. But not before becoming the first person to translate the Bible into the local language.