Facing The Pressures Of Life

It was a beautiful day as we set off to climb up Kasteelspoort and on towards the well known Table Mountain plateau in Cape Town. My friend and I started climbing early in the morning from the Pipe Track. Some hours later we reached the plateau but faced a challenge well known to hikers in this part of the world. Our arrival at the top coincided with a blanket of cloud covering the table. Our aching muscles were rewarded as we sat waiting for the cloud to lift. We were not keen to risk our lives by walking in the thick cloud so close to the edge of the mountain. So we sat, ate and relaxed during this ominous interlude. This picture is a reminder. We must learn to wait until the cloud lifts. Once we have the clarity we are then able to see the way forward and press on with our journey. There is a story in that picture for us all.

Another Day, A Different Place

I was sitting quietly in my room. Listening and attentive. Waiting for the metaphorical cloud to lift. Aware that He was present just as He promised. This was one of those special times and I was in no hurry. And, in those moments of stillness, He spoke. “Baal Perazim!”

Now, that may sound impressive but I knew immediately of the connection in Samuel between “Baal Perazim” and “The Lord Our Breakthrough!” I needed a fresh word of encouragement from the Lord. We have been on a journey with twists and turns not dissimilar to the ascent up to Table Mountain. A quest to know how to deal with the challenges of life had been with me for some time. I simply wanted to understand our response as Jesus followers when facing the pressures of life. They are common to us all. Jesus tells us in clear terms, “The Father is with me, I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakeable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world, you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” [1]

The Lord Of The Breakthrough

I read through the story of David. Shepherd, soldier and king. He had been made king over Israel. When the Philistine people heard about this they gathered against him to engage in battle. So, here David faces the hatred of a people who want to kill him. What does he do? “He went down into his stronghold.” David then did something that he had done before. “He inquired of the Lord.” As David faced the pressures of life he knew that God was with him. He also knew he could speak with Him. “Shall I go and attack the Philistines?”  [2]

He Cares About Every Detail Of Our Lives

There was no arrogance in his heart. He asked the Lord directly what he should do. The Lord then proceeded to tell him what he should do. David and his army went out and defeated the Philistines. He declared as waters break out, so the Lord has broken out against my enemies. The Lord is our breakthrough. He wants to break through our fear, our failure, our confusion and restore us completely. He wants to heal our hearts, restore our confidence and establish His authority in our lives.

The Beauty Of A Godly Life

They came back for more. Yes, the Philistines came back. And David went back into his stronghold. He didn’t rush out and do the same thing as he had done before. That would have been folly. He would have been acting independently. No, once again David inquires of the Lord. The Lord tells him what to do. Similar situation but a different response. David did all that God told him to do. The Lord gave him victory.

Each day you and I face challenges. Health scares, lack of money, strained relationships, unkind words, people who do not care and a world system which runs on the fuel of unrestrained evil. Yet, we have a stronghold we can go to. We may even need a breakthrough right now and we have tried to correct the situation as best as we can. Yet, we know it is not working and we feel frustrated. In Psalm 27: 1 David, the poet proclaims the way for you and me to know this same victory.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”

JESUS Our Stronghold

As we face the pressures of life. Take heart. The beauty of God’s provision is found in the Person of Jesus, our stronghold. Whatever you are facing today take to Him. Don’t be in a hurry. No rushed praying. Talk to Him, tell Him exactly how you feel and wait for Him to speak. When my friend and I sat and waited in the cloud we could not imagine seeing clearly to move onwards down Platteklip Gorge. Yet, when the cloud lifted as quickly as it came we saw the way open up very clearly. I love the thought that David asked the Lord a direct question and the Lord gave him a direct answer. On two occasions He asked and God spoke. We can learn this same dependence upon God. He longs for that kind of fellowship with us. Wait, don’t be impatient. Let Him take control and lead the way in your life.

[1] John 16:31-33 (MSG)  [2] 2 Samuel 5:17-25 (NIV)