There are times in our lives as Christians when we feel pressed on every side. It seems like we’re catching it from everywhere…our relationships with our loved ones are challenging, we’re overworked on our jobs and are feeling unappreciated, we’re dealing with health concerns, and the place we go to worship and get encouragement is going through a season of trial (these are just a few). The Apostle Paul experienced this pressing and shared his plight with the church at Corinth: “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8, KJV)
When we’re feeling this pressure, the first thing we want is relief! We cry out to God, just like Job did (which is what we should do) and ask, plead or even beg God to free us from the pressure. We want these burdens off of us, and we want them gone NOW! Can anyone else besides me relate to this?
Instead of desiring to be released, let’s take a moment to look at things from God’s perspective. The prophet Jeremiah observed in chapter 18 a potter working on a pot on the potter’s wheel. According to Jeremiah, “the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands.” (vs. 4, NIV) Doesn’t that sound like us? We are marred creatures, yet God desires to work on us. Jeremiah goes on to say in verse 4: “so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.”
That is what our Heavenly Father is doing while we are being pressed. He’s forming us into another pot, shaping us as He sees best. He’s allowed those sandpaper people to be in and stay in our lives for a reason. He’s giving place for the challenges we’re facing at work for a purpose. He’s letting some things happen in our lives that we may not like.
Picture in your mind what Jeremiah sees as he watches the potter work with the pot. If the pot could speak, what would it say? “Ouch, that’s hurts, Mr. Potter.” “When will you be finished, Mr. Potter?” “That’s enough, Mr. Potter!” Don’t we say these same things to God when we’re being pressed? I know I have! But it helps to remember that we’re not going through what we’re going through for no reason. God is allowing our experiences to shape up us in the image of His Son Jesus, to become the person He wants us to be.
For me, I believe in my own season of ‘press,’ God is preparing me for something greater. He’s getting rid of some things in me so I can be ready for the purpose for which He’s called me. And He’s replacing those character traits and habits that are not of Him with those that are. So, as the pot, I’m going to stay on the potter’s wheel until the Potter is finished with me. Being on the potter’s wheel is not the most comfortable place, but it’s the most necessary place. And I’m trusting that the Potter knows what He’s doing as He molds me until what He wants me to be.