Pressed on all sides, but not crushed!

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I had been out of town for less than a week, when I returned to discover this little watermelon that had been growing between the posts of our fence. Unfortunately, I found it a little too late, and it was firmly wedged in.

 

Out came my camera! I couldn’t pass up this funny (but sad) sight. When I posted the photo online, a friend commented that it made her think of this verse:

 

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.”

2 Corinthians 4:8

 

What a great visual for this verse! My little melon is so much like me. How often do I hide in a “safe” place, squarely in my comfort zone, only to outgrow it and become so stuck that I can’t get out? 

 

I’ve had many moments when I’ve felt that way, during family troubles and marital conflicts, with finances, jobs, commitments, and even at church. To be honest, I feel a little stuck right now as I struggle over time commitments for the coming school year. On the one hand, I feel compelled to do more, to give more of my time to worthy causes, to get out in the community more. On the other hand, I don’t want to overcommit and fail to fulfill other obligations. And as I waiver, more demands pop up, squeezing me almost to point of bursting.

 

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As I lie in bed awake, tossing and turning, I pray for God to tell me what I should do. I wish he spoke directly to me in plain English, but he doesn’t. Well, maybe he does! This verse reminds me that as a human being, I will sometimes be hard-pressed on all sides. However, God’s word tells me that through his power, I am strong. Not, I can be strong or I will be strong, but I am strong—now! I am not crushed!

 

If we go back one verse, we read, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” We are fragile, like jars made of clay. Yet, through God’s power, we are not crushed when squeezed in the vice of life’s troubles. This defies physics and shows the world very clearly that our strength is supernatural. And even when we are perplexed (like I feel right now) we do not fall into despair, for God is with us, and he is a God of Hope!

 

My little melon will not be liberated until I cut it open. Perhaps that’s what God is doing to me. He is slicing me open so I can see what is holding me back from trusting him and being all that he wants me to be. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

 

As I read God’s word and hear from him, it hurts (sometimes). I know God wants to release me from my narrow hiding place between the walls of comfort and fear. He encourages me to move confidently into the work he is doing with a promise that the benefits will last forever!

 

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are  being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

Bobbi

 

PS - Read the key verse in context from the Message (below), for a deeper understanding. Better yet, go to your Bible and read the whole chapter!

 

2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16-18 The Message

 

“If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!

 

”So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™