Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11
The Message (MSG)
8-11 We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.
Pressed beyond measure; yes, pressed to great lengths;
Pressed so intensely, beyond my own strength;
Pressed in my body and pressed in my soul,
Pressed in my mind till the dark surges roll.
Pressure from foes, and pressure from dear friends.
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.
Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving His staff and His rod.
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
Pressed into faith for the impossible things.
Pressed into living my life for the Lord,
Pressed into living a Christ-Life outpoured.
The pressure of difficult times makes us value life. Every time our life is spared and given back to us after a trial, it is like a new beginning. We better understand its value and thereby apply ourselves more effectively for God and for humankind. And the pressure we endure helps us to understand the trials of others, equipping us to help them and sympathize with them.
Some people have a shallowness about them. With their superficial nature, they lightly take hold of a theory or a promise and then carelessly tell of their distrust of those who retreat from every trial. Yet a man or woman who has experienced great suffering will never do this. They are very tender and gentle, and understanding what suffering really means. This is what Paul meant when he said, “Death is at work in us” (2Cor, 4:12).
Trials and difficult times are needed to press us forward. They work in the way the fire in the hold of a mighty steamship provides the energy that moves the piston, turns the engine, and propels the great vessel across the sea, even when facing the wind and the waves.