“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.” Psalm 119:143 NLT
Facing “pressures and stress,” the psalmist had learned how to respond: 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.
Developing similar conclusions, Paul discovered that serving Jesus did not guarantee popularity. As a man who had persecuted followers of Jesus, he knew that Believers were not freed from stress. But he realized the miracle that Believers actually have been changed. 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).
Yet we still face challenges and human limitations (2 Corinthians 4:7-17). We have the light of the Gospel “shining in our hearts,” but we still “are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”
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.”
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.” In fact, these pressure situations can “produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”
Don’t be surprised if you experience pressures, 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.
PrayerFather, I commit these situations to You: ______. Thank You for giving me peace. Thank You for Your direction. Thank You for giving me the joy of trusting You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Extended ReadingPsalm 119