Are you under pressure? Maybe I should ask the question differently: In which area(s) of your life do you feel pressure? Relationships? Finances? Health? Just too much to do? I suspect most of us are nodding our heads over at least one of those possible pressure points.
How do you feel about pressure?
While I do not necessarily endorse all the suggestions put forth in this video, it pretty well represents how we feel when we’re under pressure. (Besides, I find myself humming the intro every time the phrase under pressure enters my head.)
Pressure can feel monstrous and destructive.
But it is necessary.
Pressure produces personal growth, confidence and skill because when we’re under pressure we tend to step up to challenges we would otherwise avoid. And when the pressure is unbearable, when we reach the limits of our strength, then we learn what God is capable of.
I know this because the Bible tells many stories of people under pressure. Joseph would rule Egypt, but he spent thirteen years in slavery and in prison first. Under pressure. The Israelites stood trapped on the shores of the Red Sea as they watched Egyptian chariots closing in. Under pressure. David stepped up to fight a nine-foot Goliath with a lot of attitude and a little slingshot. Under pressure. The citizens of Jerusalem under King Hezekiah were surrounded by a trash talking Assyrian army. Under pressure. A teenager named Mary had to explain to her fiancée, Joseph, that her child had been immaculately conceived. Under pressure.
Those are inspiring stories of impressive faith in a powerful God. They are entertaining reading, especially since we know the endings, but the participants might not have thought those situation so much fun while enduring them. I want to experience God’s powerful presence in my life, but I tend to forget that in order for God to dramatically deliver me I must be in desperate need of a deliverer. I like the cool rescue part; not so thrilled with the hopeless circumstances part.
If it is true that God is in control of our circumstances, and it is, and if it is true that God has a good and perfect plan for our lives, and he does, then when God allows pressure into our lives, he must have a good purpose for it.
Maybe if we approach pressure with faith instead of fear it will be an opportunity for our own growth and for a demonstration of God’s glory and power.
It must be acknowledged that God does not always deliver us from our difficulties as we’d like him to. The most notable Biblical example of God’s refusal to deliver in a desperate situation is when he let his son, Jesus, who prayed for another way, go to a cross. He refused to deliver Jesus so that Jesus could deliver us.
Jesus rescued us under tremendous pressure, and he did it for our good and to glorify the Father.
As his followers, perhaps we can expect God to allow pressure into our lives for our good and for his glory.
How do you respond to pressure? Can you see spiritual potential in pressure? Have you ever experienced God’s miraculous rescue when you were in desperate circumstances?