When Under Great Pressure

“We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing, that He is preparing and fitting us for some extraordinary thing by and bye, but as we go on in grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, in the present minute. If we have God’s say-so behind us, the most amazing strength comes, and we learn to sing in the ordinary days and ways.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Some time ago, I had the opportunity to preach a three-week series by the title “When Under Great Pressure”. Many of the thoughts were from a couple of the sessions in the First Loved training materials. The difference is that in the sermon series I had more time to explore and dwell on the key ideas that the apostle Paul gives us, not just for surviving great pressure, but for thriving in our walk with Jesus because of it. How?

Paul said that when we are weak, then we are strong because it’s when we are weak that Christ’s power rests on us and reaches full measure in us (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Without the weakness that pressures of various kinds produce, we have no need to rely on God and thereby experience his presence, his power, and his love.

One scholar truly grasped this truth when he said, “Paul teaches that God’s way of exhibiting power is altogether different from human ways. People try to overcome their weaknesses. God is satisfied to use weaknesses for his own special purposes. God’s means of working, rightly understood, is not by making people stronger, but weaker and weaker, until the divine power alone is seen in them.”1 And I would add, experienced by them.

So may your heart be strengthened and encouraged by the Father’s words of love for you today:

“I know you are under great pressure, far beyond your ability to endure, so that you despair even of life. Indeed, in your heart you feel as though you have been sentenced to death. But it’s in times like these when you cannot rely on yourself that you learn to rely on me, your God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

Love you,
Bless you,
– Mark

1 Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, Daniel G. Reid