Life Under Pressure
Raw olives aren’t good for very much. If bitten right off the tree, your mouth puckers from the bitterness. Raw, most people would consider olives inedible. With refining, however, the olive becomes not only useful, but treasured for its goodness.
In ancient times, olives were refined by a massive stone wheel that crushed the fruit and produced oil. Olives were pressed not once, but three times, and each pressing produced more oil. Olive oil was used for offerings to God, cooking, cosmetics, perfumes, and even for fuel.
Not coincidentally, Gethsemane comes from two words that mean “olive press”. In a profoundly human moment, Christ prays three times in the Garden of Gethsemane. Pressed by what is about to befall him, He asked God the Father to let him be spared the agony of death and the crucifixion. Yet Christ wasn’t spared. Instead, Christ relinquished his desire to the Father’s control, saying, “not my will but thine.” In the few hours following, his very life was pressed out.
Like the olive, we are refined through pressure. Though we all live different lives, we are squeezed by life’s pressures. It is unavoidable. The Bible teaches us that in this life, we will have trouble. Some of us struggle with health issues our entire lives while others may find it hard to make it financially or lose loved ones prematurely to drugs or violence. We pray for relief and yet the pressure continues.
The Apostle Paul prayed three times for God to remove an issue in his life. Rather than removing the malady that Paul suffered, God reassured him that His grace was sufficient to see him through (2 Cor. 12:1-10).
We are not alone. As you pray today, share those life circumstances that are out of your control with God the Father. His grace is sufficient. In the middle of life’s pressures, we can become better and stronger as we allow him to be our source of strength.
– TH –