Hard Pressed

Finding Strength in the Midst of Despair
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"Lord, are you going to squeeze the last bit of life out of me?" I found myself whispering this prayer to God after yet another challenging encounter with my brain-damaged husband. The toll of caring for him and bearing the weight of our altered reality often feels like an unbearable burden. 

In that moment, I was immediately reminded of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The term Gethsemane means oil press, a place where olives are squeezed under a heavy stone slab to extract their oil. Jesus often retreated to this garden for prayer, but the night before his crucifixion, his prayers took on a different tone. We are told in Luke 22:44 that he prayed in anguish, sweating out drops of blood, as the weight of the world's sins pressed down on him. 

I was grateful for the Spiritís much-needed attitude check, reminding me of the immense suffering Jesus endured for my sake. I found myself whispering another prayer, one I've repeated countless times, "Lord, give me strength to keep going, because I cannot do this without your help!"

Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation. Are you feeling hard-pressed, pushed to your limit? Do you feel like you can't face another day of your current circumstances? Do you question, "Why has God allowed my situation to persist?" Do you cry out for resolution?

If so, I want you to remember something crucial: Jesus understands your pain. He was pressed down, the last bit of life squeezed out of him, for you and me. He bore this suffering so that we could be forgiven of our sins and live with him for eternity. 

Your pain is not in vain. The pressures you face, the trials you endure, are not unnoticed. They are akin to the pressing of olives, one that yields a valuable product. In the same way, the trials we face can produce in us a character of resilience and faith, qualities that are of immeasurable worth. 

So, when you find yourself feeling squeezed, when you feel like the last bit of life is being pressed out of you, remember the Garden of Gethsemane. Remember the anguish Jesus faced and the purpose it served. Then, whisper the prayer I've found to be a lifeline in my darkest hours, "Lord, give me strength to keep going, because I cannot do this without your help!"

Let's pray, "Lord, thank you for the promise that you will never leave us alone in our suffering. Thank you that you understand our painful trials. Help us to endure and press on to reach the end of the race to receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, has called us! Amen."

For your continued meditation, read 2 Corinthians 4.

Copyright 2024 S.A. Keith
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