This spring we have had some very rainy long days at home. On days like these, I like to tackle organizing projects. One such day, I was helping my son organize the new lego sets that he had received for his birthday. I was kneeling down in front of his bookshelf when I felt a sharp pain in my knee. I assumed that I had struck a nerve in my aging knees, or perhaps rested my knee on a small sharp lego-like object. So I rolled quickly off my knees to relieve the pressure. I felt something on my pants as I rubbed the sore area and noticed that I now had a small hole in my favorite lounge pants. But then we noticed a burning smell. The smell triggered me to look again at my pant leg and see that the hole was not torn, but melted and burned. I had knelt down on one of the caps from Micah’s cap gun, and the pressure and friction had caused it to ignite, melting my pants, and burning my knee.
So too with our faith, sometimes a little pressure in life is what we need to ignite a spark. Yes, sometimes that pressure is uncomfortable, but if it ignites our faith, then it is worth it.
The pressure we are feeling right now in my family is provision – the economy is not great, as we all know, and my husband’s job has been greatly affected by this. It’s a nose-at-the-water-line type of situation. But I allowed this pressure to spark faith in me on a recent Sunday as I was listening to a sermon entitled, “What’s In Your Hand?” God’s Spirit whispered in my heart – “your flowers are in your hand. Give them to me, and let’s see what we can do.” As I have reflected on the start up of my cut flower arrangement sales, I realize that the initial spark happened years ago, but it took the pressure of our finances to ignite something greater. (Who knows how long that cap had been sitting on Micah’s floor? It took the pressure of my knee to ignite it!) It took pressure for my faith to grow, to place this passion in God’s hands, to give it over to him and let him use it for his purposes.
The reality is that without some pressure or some discomfort, we are unlikely to move, change, take a step, grow. We like our comfort zones. They’re comfortable. But they are not where growth happens. Growth happens in the pressure, the heat, the trial by fire.
When I think of a life from the Bible that is marked by great trial, great pressure, great difficulty, of course Job comes to mind. Job lost everything, if you are unfamiliar with his story. He lost all the many herds of animals he owned, all his wealth; he lost his home; he lost his children; he even lost his health. His life was in utter ruins. When we get into places like this, not that I can pretend to ever have been in such a dismal place as Job, we have choices: We can give up, turn our backs on God; we can be angry with God; or we can allow the pressure to spark faith.
Job chose faith. And so do I.
“When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” (Job 23)
“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19)
Whatever trial you are facing right now, I encourage you to let the pressure you feel ignite faith in your heart. Don’t turn your back on God or be angry with him; choose faith. Your redeemer lives. And you will see him face to face one day, with all made right. Allow your difficulties to grow your faith, to move you in the direction God is urging you. Choose faith.