“It does not matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies – whether it comes between you and God, or whether it presses you nearer His heart.” – Hudson Taylor.
People today live pressure-filled lives and it’s taking its toll. Experts say that the way we live our lives is emerging as the main cause of illness today. The American Academy of Family Physicians says that two-thirds of all visits to doctors are stress related. We are constantly looking for ways to relieve anxiety. We look for ways to feel with the coronavirus fears. We search for the best ways to reduce stress and, have more balance and margin in our lives. We simply want to be calmer inside. But, let’s face it, stress and pressure are a part of life.
Psalms 119:43 says, “As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.” As he turned to God’s Word, he found “joy.” His whole attitude changed. He was reminded of His promises, and his spiritual strength was renewed. The apostle Paul came to a similar conclusion. As a man who had persecuted followers of Jesus, he knew that Christians were not free from stress. But he also realized Christians undergo a change. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Paul knew how to respond when he was “…pressed on every side by troubles.…” He knew that “we are not crushed.” We could be “perplexed,” but in these moments we are “not driven to despair.” We may be “hunted down,” but we can know that God never abandons us. We may “get knocked down,” but we can know that He is with us and we will not be “destroyed.” ( 2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
We must “never give up” but realize that God is at work, renewing us. And we are to remember that our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.
Isaiah 26:3 promises to keep me in perfect peace, despite any situation, if I willingly commit to doing these two things: Trust God, instead of trying to master things on my own. Keep my thoughts fixed on God, instead of worrying about what everyone else thinks.
Don’t be surprised if you experience pressure, or feel stress. As the psalmist discovered, these are moments to turn to God. Trusting in Him, confident that He will bring you through, and give you the strength you need.
- How do you typically respond when you are in a high-pressure situation?
- Knowing the Holy Spirit will teach you how to respond when your faith is being questioned, does that inspire confidence in God or cause you concern that you’re not in control?