We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
We have all had to deal with various pressures in our lives from time to time, and the current pandemic has created pressures of a very different type for us.
Not being able to gather for worship—or perhaps gather for other celebrations in our family. My family hasn’t been able to celebrate Christmas with each other yet. But that is nothing compared to those who have been struggling with the coronavirus, or those who have had a death in their family, or been working on how to rescue a rebellious or troubled teen, or perhaps those who have been working on how to mend a troubled marriage.
When the pressure is on, it can distract us so that we don’t think clearly. Seldom do we make our best decisions or wise choices when we are under a lot of pressure.
For instance, when you feel a lot of pressure to make a rushed decision, that is the exact time to back up, take a deep breath, take some time to analyze your choices more closely, and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit before making any decision.
The pressures of life can truly overwhelm us if we let them. So the key is to not let them.
When we start to feel the pressure in a situation, we need at that moment to turn to God in prayer and seek his Word, because God has promised that He will give us wisdom if we will just ask Him.
We can also ask others who are close to us to pray for us as we deal with the decisions that must be made.
Asking God for wisdom and guidance concerning whatever the situation we are facing is the beginning step that helps give us perspective and calm our fears. Asking a trusted friend who is close to us might also give us a more objective outlook and help us deal with the pressures that are mounting in a calmer way.
St. Paul and the early disciples faced hardships that we will likely never encounter, but he reassured the Christians in Corinth and us today, that even though they had faced these pressures they were not defeated. His reassurance of God’s continuing presence with them through all of the pressures they were undergoing reassures us that God is with us during each one of the difficulties and pressures that we might face.
God has promised to be with us and he has promised relief and a way of escape, so we can refuse to let the pressures of life steal our joy and our peace in Christ.
- How have you been pressured during this pandemic?
- Have you asked others to pray with you on how to deal with those pressures?
- Have you given these struggles over to God and asked for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in all your decisions?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.