I know the feeling.
As the walls close in around you a frantic helplessness drugs your mind with a lethal cocktail of adrenalin and confusion. You feel trapped with no way out.
While many of us thrive under pressure, there is a certain kind that pushes us into a place far beyond our capacity to handle. Paul told the church in Corinth about the pressure he and his friends had faced:
‘We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death’ – 2 Corinthians 1:8 (NIV)
They were under so much pressure they interpreted the situation as being a death sentence, and resigned themselves to their fate, preparing for the worst.
But as the walls were about to crush them, one of the group determined not to give up and cried out to God for deliverance. God heard their cries and rescued them, changing their interpretation of the entire situation:
‘This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead’ (1:9)
After experiencing the faithfulness of God to deliver them time and again, they were convinced He was their only source of hope:
‘He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us’ (1:10)
The Israelites also faced unbearable pressure. They found themselves trapped between the ferocious Egyptian army storming down on one side with the Red Sea on the other. But in that moment they realised God hadn’t led them into a trap, but had brought them to Himself as He made a way through the impossible and impassable:
‘Come and see… His awesome deeds for mankind! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot – come, let us rejoice in him’ – Psalm 66:5-6 (NIV)
God will often allow pressure situations into our lives that are far beyond our ability to endure. These situations are not designed to crush us but to lead us into His loving arms as He makes a way through the impossible!
If you are under pressure, instead of concluding God has abandoned you, interpret the situation as His invitation to intimacy and adventure!