I want to talk about something that I don't hear much of. "Pressure causes change". This thought has been coming back to me over and over again. The idea of circumstances causing us to change our direction and even sometimes go in directions that we had no desire to go in. I have three examples of incidents that have happened to friends, that I would like to relate.
A dear friend whom we have known for 20 plus years has always talked of getting her drivers' license. For the last 10 years she has talked seriously of getting her license. We have encouraged her and tried to help her to work on getting her learners license. When we were on the farm we set it up so that she could drive in the field, etc. Two years ago she purchased a car, even though she did not have her license. She had it parked in her parking spot at the complex where she lived. She liked having it there because it encouraged her to think about and work on getting her license. She had good intentions and even with lots of good encouragement from dear friends, she did not get around to actually accomplishing much toward getting her license. But her intentions were very good. She was sincere in her mind that she would accomplish the task. She used to wash the car and even kept the snow off it in the winter. This last winter the unthinkable happened!! The manager of the housing complex she was living in, wrote her a letter explaining that as the car did not have a current license plate on it - it could not be parked at the complex. She was irate. How could they do this to her!! Did they not know she was working toward getting her license!! That it was only a matter of time before the car would be licensed and she would be driving it. She tried all she could to try and get them to rescind their order. All she was able to get was an extension. She tried to get it licensed, but without a drivers license, the government would not allow a license for the car to be issued. She did all she could to keep the car in her parking stall, but alas to no avail and one day it was moved to a friend's place in the country. She cried as the car was being taken away. Her car, her dream leaving in front of her eyes. She was in despair and she was also angry. How could those people do this to her?! What to do now? Well, this terrible pressure caused her to open herself up to her Lord. She came to Him and asked for help in the area of procrastination. She asked Jesus to really help her get her license. The next weekend, she went down and wrote her learner's license and passed!!! She then enrolled in Driver's Training and is currently working on completing the task of getting her license. What happened here? The outside pressure which was intense and even seemed obscene in its disregard for the rights of this child of God; caused this beautiful Christian to change.
Next example, another dear friend had a problem with a messy basement. She is a collector, a habit that many of us have in varying degrees in our lives. Her problem had gotten out of hand and her basement was very cluttered. Most of it was in boxes, but some of them were from the last move which had occurred 7 years ago. She knew she had to go down there and clean it up; and when there was time she knew she would. But there was never enough time to get done the day to day priorities, let alone getting to the basement. Well, something happened which was not very nice. The housing complex where they lived changed hands. The new managers had some questions and stopped by for a visit. In the process they happened to notice the basement. They had strong concerns and even brought in a fire inspector who reiterated the concerns and stated emphatically that the basement had to be cleaned up. To make a long story short, the basement ended up getting cleaned.
Another example happened to another friend of ours. He was in a business and had leased a bay in commercial building. There was a change in the ownership, and the new partner wanted that bay for his own uses. He started to change the way things were done and started to make it difficult for our friend to keep his business in that location. He got upset and tried to resist the change. He spent a great deal of effort and energy pushing back against the onerous changes that were being forced upon him. One day, he decided he couldn't take it anymore and he decided to move his business out. So he did. Once it was done he found things to be much smoother. Another bay opened up for him to use and a new direction to his business started to develop. When he looked back at what had happened, he was thankful for all that had happened. It turned out good for him.
These above three examples happened to dear Christian friends who are no different than you or I. I am sure if we were to talk with you that you could also provide examples in your life where pressure has caused change for you. But let us look at some of the parts of this phenomenon and see if we can learn. First off, all of the above changes came about because of pressure from the world. This tremendous pressure resisted all attempts by those involved to placate it. They all did everything in their power to resist the force, but to no avail. When they went along with the intended change they found peace. They found life to be easier when they went along with change. In each case, after the events were all over, they were thankful for the change that was wrought in their life. At the time they were angry and upset and had some feelings that Christians should not be allowed to have, if you know what I mean. After it was all over, they were all thankful for the change that occurred. At one time I've said. 'that we need to learn to kiss the hand that hurts us'. Sometimes the Lord sends pressure into our lives to cause us to change. Most of the time we resist the change. We fight back. The pressure increases. We fight the harder. The pressure increase to the point where we know that we have no choice but to go along with the change. During this process some are convinced it is the devil who is warring upon us. It feels as if God has left us, and that our prayers fall on deaf ears. Later after it is all over, and the work has been worked into us, we say thank-you Lord. We say thank-you for working in us even when we didn't want it. We start to acknowledge that He was the one behind the pressure because He wanted to move us to a better place. At the time we are bitter and upset and even angry with our God, but later we are thankful. Our God is an Awesome God!!
All through history we see our God forcing change upon peoples lives. Some of the greatest waves of immigration to our country happened because of persecution or famine in the homelands. "I do not want to leave home, but because of this terrible situation where I now am I must move out to a new land". The Potato Famine in Ireland caused a good many of our ancestors to cross the ocean and come to a New Land. Even in our day to day walk with Jesus, He allows pressure to cause us to strike out for new lands in His kingdom. Our Lord always wants us to grow, and most of the time," if we were given our druthers" we would probably want to stay just where we are. We are not a people that embraces change. Change is hard on us and we would rather stay right where we are. But when the discomfort level gets high enough, we then move with the change. The problem is that some of us are very stubborn and it sometimes takes alot to cause us to move. I sometimes do not understand how the Lord is able marshall so many forces to bear upon us to cause us to move. I know that it sometimes takes a lot of pressure before I start to see that maybe my Lord is trying to tell me something. Blessed is the man or woman who hears early what the Lord is trying to tell us. I think wisdom is being able to hear the voice of the Lord and then to act upon it early.
What would our lives be like if we acted upon the gentle nudges of the Holy Spirit the first time we heard Him? I know that I tend to get more deaf the longer I am with the Lord. I know that He loves me, cares for me and won't hurt me. This tends to lead me to a place where I get a little callous in obeying His Spirit. When I was young in the Lord, I was much more concerned in obeying His every little whisper. Sometimes now it is like I have to wait for the whisper to become a yell. Sometimes the pressure becomes so intense that I have no choice but to bend my knee to His will. Why do I want to wait till it gets hard to do the inevitable anyways? He will succeed in what He wants to accomplish. I only make it hard on myself when I resist His leading. He only wants to do what is best for me, and yet I want to resist?? Oh, Lord please soften my inner man so that I quickly jump to do your bidding. Will He cause intense pressure to accomplish His will? You bet ya!! He will do what it takes to move His people to where He wants them to go. History is full of His interventions to change the course of mankind. He has always intervened to accomplish His purposes. Even today He is not only moving in the micro (our own personal lives) , but He also moving on the macro (the countries of the world). There is nothing that happens on the micro or the macro that He is not intimately involved with. His purposes will be accomplished. Does this mean we relax and let God do it all?? No, it means we need to get in tune with Him and go along with His purposes. When He puts His finger on a sin in our life (and we all have them), and shows us that it is time for this encumbrance to go, then we need to say Yes, Lord, and go along with Him. He is not a man that He can be bargained with. He Loves us with such an overpowering love that He will cause us to want to be changed. Sometimes He makes us offers that we cannot refuse. Other times the pressure becomes so intense that we finally give up and say Uncle. Regardless, His will will be accomplished in the earth. Not just in the macro earth (the whole world), but also in our micro earth (our lives). Heb 12:11 " No discipline seems pleasant at the time , but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."