The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you (Jeremiah 31:3-NKJV).
The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation (Psalms 145:8-9-NLT).
Modern life is filled with pressure at every turn. The downside of the technical age we live in is that we are more disconnected in our social media internet connectedness than we have ever been. Everywhere, literally everywhere I go I see people looking at their phones and not connecting with people in the same room. Loneliness abounds in American culture. And now, with the isolation created by responses to the Coronavirus, all of this is magnified exponentially!
We are not equipped to handle pressure without God’s influence. The human personality is created to work well along with the influence of a very personal God whose voice we intuitively hear. So, ever since the first man and woman fell away from God in sin, we have a hard time dealing with life’s pressure points.
When we try to diffuse the pressures of life without God, we get into trouble. And that is the reason so many people have addictions. Addictions are nothing more than a person seeking to diffuse life’s pressure points without God’s help. For many, financial pressure, a failed relationship, abuse, or sudden negative news sends them into a downward emotion/mental spiral. And they end up dealing with the pressure by drinking, drug abuse, overwork, eating, pornography, sexual addictions, binge gaming, binge video watching, etc.
Christians also get caught in the trap of addictive behaviors in order to relieve life’s pressure points. Peter admonishes us: Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8-ESV).
God created us to commune with Him. God is a Spirit (John 4:24). We are spirit beings living in human bodies. And when pressure comes, God wants us to run to Him and NOT to an addiction. So how do you deal with pressure in your life? We all either yield to the flesh to relieve pressure or run to God.
David gave us a clue as to how he faced life’s pressure points. As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God (Psalms 42:1-2a -ESV). The deer mentioned here is a very small animal that is easily hunted by predators. It forages for food near a stream or a river. When hunted, the small deer runs to the water and jumps in, going to the center of the stream and remaining submerged all but its nose until the enemy predator leaves. When hunted, it longs for the water, its place of safety.
Our water, our place of safety, is communion with God. He alone can relieve the internal pressure that modern life brings.
Here again the words of the prophet Isaiah from over twenty five hundred years ago:
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:29-31-NKJV).
The closer we move to the return of Jesus to earth, the more intense the pressures of life will become. Learn the lesson now of running to God with your life’s pressure points. When things happen that activate the urges you have to de-stress, take those urges to God in solitude. Find a quiet spot, which may be a room in your home, or a quiet walk in your neighborhood or in a park. Tell God what bothers you. Get real. Tell God your feelings and challenges. Ask Him to forgive you for wanting to run away and medicate the pain with outward things. Ask Him to go before you and work out the problems. Ask Him to calm your mind and your heart. Ask Him to do specific things. He hears. And He will answer.
Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord. Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7 J.B. Phillips).