// Lynette Hagin
HAVE THE WORDS "I feel like I'm living in a pressure cooker" ever crossed your mind? Some of you may not even know what a pressure cooker is! My mom often cooked with one. It was the alternative for microware and crock-pot cooking at the same time.
A pressure cooker cooks food quickly and tenderizes it at the same time. As food cooks,
steam builds up inside the pot. The steam is released gradually through a valve. If you take the lid off when there is still a lot of pressure in the pot, it will explode and food will go everywhere.
Sometimes life is like a pressure cooker. The stress of the economy, family, and job difficulties can build up to a level where we feel like we are going to explode. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines pressure in the sense that I am referring to as "the burden of physical or mental distress."
What causes you stress may be different than what stresses me. You might be stressed because it seems like you are not getting anywhere in life. You may have thought you would be at a higher level than you are at now. You may have come to the place where you don't have any sense of direction. Or you may feel that life is a continuous circle and there isn't anywhere to get off.
I can certainly identify with all these things. At one time or another, many of those thoughts have entered my mind.
I cherish and value living in a peaceful environment. Growing up, my family did not bicker or fuss. We never experienced strife with one another. It was a rude awakening to me as an adult when I realized that life is not always lived in a peaceful environment. As a manager in the workplace, I endeavor to promote peace among those I am in charge of.
Many years ago I went to each department in our ministry to streamline the department, as well as make it a peaceful environment. I prided myself in my success. Just when I felt like each department had reached my goal and that I would never have to face conflict again, the first department began to experience strife.
I was frustrated. I felt like my efforts and time were spent in vain. At times like this, it's important not to allow the enemy to holler in your ear. Satan waits for these moments to pounce on you. He wants to discourage you and cause you to be depressed.
These are also the times when you need to cry out to your Heavenly Father. He is the One Who has all the right answers for you. I was raised in a pastor's home where oftentimes the only one you dared tell your frustrations to was God. So I automatically cried out to Him in my moment of frustration. I asked, "God when is there ever going to be complete peace in this place?"
Let me tell you, when you ask God a question, you'd better be prepared for His answer. It may not be the answer you thought. I shall never forget His answer. He said, "NEVER!"
I was so startled that I just sat quietly trying to digest His answer. Honestly, I wondered how I was going to deal with it. When suddenly, the Lord gave me the answer I needed. He said, "Go to John 16:33." Isn't it wonderful that God will give you an answer in the Bible? I believe He does this so you can refer back to it in your time of need.
I read that verse in many translations. I particularly identified with the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition:
"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you]" (John 16:33 AMPC).
Know that it doesn't matter what you are going through or experiencing. When you place your trust in God, you will experience perfect peace and confidence. He has already conquered the situation for you.
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
—Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)