Friday, May 18, 2007

Under Pressure

Ren and I were just talking this morning about how much pressure we've got going on in our lives right now. We're dealing with some stress. I know everybody deals with varying degrees of it at different points in their lives. So it's nothing new. As Peter says,

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.--1 Peter 4:12-13 (Msg)

As I look back, I realize that the most trying times in my life always preceded some major breakthrough in my life. Some major work that God was trying to do in me. Then I read this in my devotional this morning.

Pressed beyond measure; yes, pressed to great length;
Pressed so intensely, beyond my own strength;
Pressed in my body and pressed in my soul,
Pressed in my mind till the dark surges roll.
Pressure from foes, and pressure from dear friends.
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.

Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving His staff and His rod.
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
Pressed into faith for impossible things.
Pressed into living my life for the Lord,
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured. --author unknown

I think Paul sums it up well here for us, too.

We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.--2 Cor. 1:8-9 (NIV)

Thank You, Father, for giving us strength to make it through whatever is pressing us today.