Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
I had this amazing memory today of my Mama’s stew. I could almost taste it. I don’t think I have had any quite like it and what I wouldn’t do to have it again. She used a stove top pressure cooker and I don’t hear of those being used much anymore. Although I am not a good gauge, I cook to live and help my family survive. Period. So cooking is not often a topic of conversation for me.
The pressure cooker was something though, it used to frighten me. Once it was heated to temperature, it got to shaking and a steaming and I literally walked a big circle around it thinking it was going to blow at any time. Of course it never did because there was a little valve that slowly let off the steam to relieve the pressure.
It reminded me of life this morning as I was praying for the many people I know that are facing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual difficulties. Life can sometimes be a pressure cooker. Heating up, steaming and shaking until we feel like the sucker is going to blow!
I have great news! We are not designed to live this life using our own strength, God has designed us to need His. Our part is to turn to Him, pressure or not and ask that He will be our strength and the valve that relieves the compression. One Hebrew word for God is Shub Nephesh which means Renewer of Life. Seperately Shub means to turn or repent and Nephesh means, life, person or soul. So to receive the renewing of life, we need to repent of our sin, our independence from God and breathe in the new life He offers.
Sometimes I think the pressure builds because we have not spent enough time knowing who God is. How can we know the Renewer of Life if we have not been with Him. There are too many things to keep us distracted. Do you know how you can be so busy yet still feel so empty? There is a longing deep within all of us for communion with the Father whether we know that is the thing we are trying to fill or not.
I am reminded of Martha, (Luke 10:38-42) probably because I have been like her for far too long. Jesus visited the home of the sisters Martha and Mary and Martha scurried about preparing the meal and serving while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. Today as I read it, God highlighted what Martha said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
I first laughed thinking Martha you are a bold woman telling, not asking, Jesus the Son of God to boss your sister around. Then suddenly I thought she is not necessarily asking Jesus to get Mary to help her but is pleading with Jesus to deliver her from this cycle of doing. She was the oldest and probably naturally responsible but she knew she was missing something and she needed Jesus to tell her how to change that. In His mercy He did tell her, calling her name twice because it was important for her to know and His love was intimate for her. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus did not rebuke Martha for what she chose, He just invited her to set priorities. Do you feel your life becoming a pressure cooker with all that is happening in and around you? Are you overwhelmed with circumstances or have you become too distracted from what is important? I invite you to sit at the feet of Jesus and cry out to Him, ask Him to be Shub Nephesh, Renewer of Life to you. Let Him be the pressure valve and bring the relief.
I love the song ‘Just Be Held’ by Casting Crowns, one of the verses says,”If your eyes are on the storm, You’ll wonder if I love you still. But if your eyes are on the cross, You’ll know I always have and always will.” Listen and sit with the One who loves you.