Hard Pressed

 

As some of you may know, I am an avid movie guy. The “experts”, whoever they are, agree that men tend to engage visually more so than by any other means. I surely can attest to that. I can quickly and easily be sucked-in to a good movie within a few short minutes. I have often wondered if, had Jesus been born in the 21st Century, would He have been a movie guy too? Maybe he would have quoted some of His favorite movies and used them as parables? Hmm, I wonder. I mean He often used stories to help people see the spiritual reality amidst their natural surroundings, and that’s what I tend to search for when watching the big screen. Yeah, I think Jesus might have been a movie guy too.

The type of movie that I generally lean towards are those that mirror real life stories, and especially those that have an element of overcoming seemingly impossible circumstances. Give me a good plot where the odds are highly stacked against the good guys, and I’m engaged. Of course, I am also that guy that needs a nicely wrapped-up, happy ending as well.

More often than not, a catastrophic event of some sort sets the plot in motion, leaving everyone and everything in chaos. It is there that we usually learn the character of the character(s). As the saying goes, when you squeeze the tube, you very quickly find out what’s inside. In real life, it’s much the same. In the blink of an eye things can change from calm to chaotic. Case in point; COVID-19. Within just a few short hours we went from hearing that there is a virus that’s wreaking havoc overseas, to schools here in the U.S. being shut down for 3 weeks. Then, a few days later, a “stay at home” order is given and most everything grinds to a halt. The proverbial tube continues to get squeezed and squeezed, over and over. So, let me ask you this, what is coming out? As you have been pressed upon and challenged, squeezed by the hands of life, what is being revealed? Is it good? Not so good? Embarrassing? Shameful?

As followers of Jesus, we are a continual “work in progress.” We have never been promised an escape from the hardships of life, but to be shaped and refined by them. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says this: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. The difference we can experience, apart from those who have not yet surrendered their lives to Christ, is that He is continually working for our good, in any and all circumstances, good or bad.

We have been given an eternal perspective allowing us to endure and thrive through “our light and momentary troubles” as the Apostle Paul has said. We can feel hard pressed and perplexed and persecuted and struck down, and yet . . . Not feel crushed or in despair or abandoned or destroyed. Our tubes can be squeezed the same as the rest of the world, but they could, and should, reveal an entirely different content. And that is my prayer for us all!

~ Pastor Mitch