My daughter had a fever. I gave her tylenol. After a few days I took her to the doctor and he told me she had an ear infection and prescribed an antibiotic. The antibiotic is curing the ear infection and the fever is disappearing. With the tylenol I was effectively treating a symptom without treating the cause.
I’m a stress eater. It’s been a stressful bunch of years with seminary, work, ministry, and family and I’ve been asking the Lord to help me reign in my eating. It hasn’t been working. Recently, I’ve begun listening to the Lord when he’s told me to stop doing so much. To stop taking advantage of great opportunities. To let go of things that are strategic or that I would love to do but are not right for right now. I’ve done less. I’ve had less stress. My eating habits have become manageable (not perfect, but better).
For years, I wanted a God who would, like tylenol, take away the symptom. Instead, he, like an antibiotic, wanted to attack the cause. It’s not just about going to him to relieve my stress, it’s about stopping the things that cause me stress. Obviously there are things I can’t control, but taking control of the things that I can and sacrificing the things that I want to do are bringing me freedom in other areas of my life.