Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Under Pressure!

Tis the season to be canning, fa la la la la la la la la.
Watch the gauge and keep on fanning, fa la la la la la la la la.
Build the pressure, let the steam out, fa la la la la la la la la.
Blessed with food for winter's whiteouts, fa la la la la la la la la. 

The garden is growing, the beans are hanging, the potatoes plants are blossoming, the tomatoes are ripening.  All this food the Lord provides is ready to be stored for the winter months using a pressure cooker.

I was talking with a friend today and we were discussing being stressed and under pressure and anger.  How to deal with those things.  A fitting analogy is the pressure cooker.  

In life there are things that occur, people that hurt us, or mistakes we make in life that can put us immediately under pressure.  Poor financial choices can lead to stress.  Illness can cause us to feel burdened.  Post traumatic stress disorder is the official name for what happens when whatever trauma occurred to you causes you to continue to have stress even after the trauma has passed.  

It can be the death of a loved one that you have not grieved for.  It can be something that happened in childhood that you could not escape.  It can be words spoken to you that hurt.

People deal with pressure in different ways.  Many people have the "fight or flight" response.  They either get on the defense, ready to fight back, adrenaline pumping...or they run, flee, escape.  

The Bible describes the feelings of being under pressure in this way:

"I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint, because of the enemy's voice, because of the pressure of the wicked.  For they bring down disaster on me and harass me in anger.   My heart shudders within me; terrors of death sweep over me."  Psalm 55:2-4 HCSB
Many people believe that the Bible says "God will never give you more than you can handle."

It does not say that anywhere in the Bible.

Most people are probably thinking of  I Corinthians 10:13 which reads "No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

This is referring to temptation...not the pressures of life.

Oftentimes I have found that it is when I cannot handle things life hurls at me, that I find the most strength and peace and love in the Lord.  When life is overwhelming (and it can be that) we feel pressure.  But that pressure can be handled in different ways.  We can fight, flee or have faith.  Putting our faith in the Lord will bring peace in the middle of the storm.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 says, "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. "
Because we trust in Jesus and what He did through His death on the cross we continue to carry the hope of Jesus and His resurrection and what He made possible to us through that...reconciliation with our Heavenly Father.

And we are not promised a life of ease, wealth, health and happiness (no matter what some men tickle your ears with)....but we are promised by Jesus that He will never leave us nor forsake us and that He has prepared a place for us where there will be no more tears, no more sin, no more struggle.

So when the pressures of life seem great...
live in the moment and draw on the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Celebrate the things in your life that are good through thankfulness to God.
Reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ who are there to encourage you, lift you up in prayer and help you.

The Scripture passage above may be well known to you...but the verse that comes before it, verse 7, is important to remember and not heard as often.

It reminds us..."But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
Don't lose sight of our purpose in this life....which is to worship and glorify God.  His Holy Spirit living in this fragile earthly body will shine out and accomplish His glory.