‘Everything remains in the hands of the Creator’

There are few places in the world as good for my mental health as the north coast of Co Antrim.

Rev Danielle McCullagh, curate at Lisburn Cathedral

Even as I write this, I have the joy of being just a few hundred yards from one of its golden beaches. This is a place where it feels like my soul can be still.

We live in a fast paced and demanding culture which tells us that we must live and work like everything depends on us.

That culture has, without doubt, taken a toll on the mental health of many people. Yet the Bible reminds us time and time again, that we control nothing. Everything remains in the hands of the creator.

I love the story of Job in the Bible. Although it is a sad and challenging story of a man who loses everything precious to him, it offers us the reminder of who is really in control. After Job faces tragedy and hardship, he has a conversation with God. Some of the words from that conversation that stand out most to me are when God says:

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand.

Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?

Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?

(Job 38:4-12)

What difference might it make to our stress levels, our anxieties and our mental health if we were to take some time and answer the questions that God asked of Job? What if we took the time to look at our lives and remember that everything we have is ultimately the provision of God?

If you are feeling overwhelmed or burned out at the moment, I encourage you to take a drive to the beautiful north coast. Walk along one of the golden beaches, or stand on the rocks at Ballintoy Harbour, or the cliffs at Dunseverick and watch the majestic waves roll in. Then ask yourself – did I create any of this? Can I stop these waves from rolling? Can I tell the sun when to rise and set? There is only one who created and sustains it all. He is God who is able and is trustworthy. If he is able to create and control all of this, surely he is able to care for me and the details of my life. There is nothing in your life you cannot trust him with.

If you find yourself feeling under pressure at the moment, or you happen to visit one of those beautiful places, why don’t you make the words of this old hymn your prayer:

Drop Thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease.

Take from our souls the strain and stress,

and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of Thy peace.

(Dear Lord and Father of Mankind)