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22 Dec – Under Pressure

Most of us would be quite happy never to have any stress or pressure in our lives and this is especially true when we feel like we are surrounded by chaos, noise and demands on our life. We can actually spend a lot of effort seeking to be comfortable, and in the Western World we can seek this comfort above all else.

However Jesus never said we wouldn’t experience pressure; in actual fact He warned that we would have trials and pressure situations. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Perhaps Jesus was warning us about seeking our comfort above everything else, for a comfortable person is very hard to move or motivate to do anything. Plus when comfort is our goal then when we aren’t comfortable we can start to think that God must have abandoned us somehow.

The danger of seeking comfortability and a life of no pressure, (in contrast to knowing inner peace) can very quickly turn into complacency, reticence, and lethargy. Whereas God’s peace motivates and undergirds us to step out, to take risks and to move in faith.

When we seek to live a life seeking after God and His plans and purposes for us there is absolutely no doubt we are going to feel stretched, pressured and vulnerable at times. But it’s in these pressure seasons that our faith is encouraged to grow; we gain inner strength, and discover who we are and who our God is. If we look through history it’s easy to see that some of the most amazing discoveries, exploits and feats of heroism have been achieved when people came under pressure rather than remained comfortable.

God even reminds us through creation that “when we long for a life without difficulties to be aware that oaks grow strong in contrary winds, and a diamond is simply a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure” (P. Marshall)

We are far more resilient than we possibly imagine ourselves to be, and it’s often only as we are stretched in our current capabilities and comfort zones that we grow, develop and learn to rely on God’s strength and enabling. It’s in the very space where “we run out” that we become aware of God’s grace and presence with us and can learn that “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)

Today whether you are under pressure or feeling at ease know that God is with you. He promises that He will never leave us or forsake us and that He has our life in His capable hands. Every season has a purpose and the key in the midst of it all is to seek God and His way of doing things, rather than trying to achieve a comfortable stress free life. “For God’s ways change caterpillars into butterflies, sand into pearls and coal into diamonds using time and pressure, and He’s working on each one of us too.“

Prayer: Lord help me to see where you are working in my life and to not seek after comfort above what you are wanting to do in and through my life. Please remind me that in all things you work for the good of those who love you, even if that means you will allow pressure in my life to bring out the brilliance, colour and shine in me. In Jesus name Amen.

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