“We were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves but in God which raises the dead“ (II-Corinthians 1:8-9).
The Apostle Paul in his letters to the church at Corinth reflects and shares his suffering. A grim reality of the human life-experience is that sometime it takes the pressure of hard places and hard times to make us value what God has given. Every time our life is given back to us after some near death experience, it should be seen as a new beginning. As such we ought to learn life’s true worth and invest more of it in service to God and our fellow-man. The pressure of our personal trials makes us sensitive to the challenges and difficulties of our neighbors and friends and prepares us to comfort and-or sympathize with them.
The person who has suffered much understands this and is usually more compassionate and caring because he or she knows what suffering really means. The shallow and super-ficial person who shrinks from a trial breeds distrust, this is what Paul meant when he said, “We were crushed.” Trials and hard places are needed to press us forward and on toward the higher calling of God. Jesus said; “Whosoever will come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34), he never said it would be drama free or easy. “And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered” (Joel 2:32).
Why do so many believers refuse to call on Jesus’ name when life’s trials are pressing the very life out of us? Why run to a good neighbor or friend when Jesus is so near? Why do we invest so much time and energy devising complex schemes and ill-fated plans? Why not just cast our burdens upon the Lord? Time and time again we are told a straight line is the shortest distance between any two points—it would be so simple to go straight to the living God. Sad as it may be, I have learned humanity does not have a favorable history of doing the simple or what is best, we prefer justice over Jesus and struggle over salvation.
“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounded by Christ” (II-Corinthians 1:5). Paul’s case was urgent, and He did not see how he would be delivered from the “Death that worked within,” but this was no longer a problem. He was fully persuaded He who makes the promise will find ways and means of keeping it. It was not his responsibility to try to rationalize it or discern His reasoning, but to obey His commands. I am His servant and He is my Master, I have called upon Him and He will answer. Jesus Christ is our consolation.
Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length, Pressed so intensely it seems beyond strength. Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul, Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll.
Pressure by foes and a pressure from friends, Pressure on pressure till life nearly ends. Pressed into knowing no helper but God; Pressed into loving the staff and the rod.
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings, Pressed into faith for impossible things. Pressed into living a life in the Lord, Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.” Author – Unknown
Paul arrives at an exhilarating conclusion; I may look for deliverance anywhere else, but it is with God only that I shall find it. I have His Divine “grace” in its sufficiency and His Divine “is” to make sure. I need not ask again, I may call on Him or not, for that word “is” remains emphatic, true and absolute. His “is” means just that, nothing more, nothing less, is? It means whatsoever, whosoever, wherever, whenever and forever, even when the pressure crushes me.
Having faith in the God who created heaven and earth, the Almighty God, His Son Jesus Our Christ clearly tells me who has made such a great promise. “And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the conso-lation” (II-Corinthians 1:7). God loves us, Jesus died for us, the Holy Spirit abides with us and His grace is sufficient for us. Be blessed until the blessed call you blessed in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
Related Article: “It Is What It Is” https://thethirdcross.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/it-is-what-it-is/