We’re having problems with our urinal in the men’s room at the church. It’s leaking water in the pipes. Paul took home a part of the pipe last night and tried to clean it up to get a good seal. He put water in it and it held the water. He could see that it held water while he had it in his house not hooked up to the lines, he also suspected once pressure was applied to it, it might leak. He hooked it up this morning and it did.
One of my favorite movie quotes is from the judge in the movie Caddyshack when he’s Christening a boat, and this is how I remember it:
It’s easy to smile when your ship come in
and you’ve got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile,
is the man who can smile,
when his shorts are too tight in the seat.
Being a follower of Jesus is not unlike that. I recently read through the book of Job and it makes me think of Job. I also just preached from James and while I didn’t preach on that topic, James begins his epistle (letter) by basically saying, “Hello, twelve scattered tribes of Israel, this is James. Count it joy when you fall into various trials, when you are tested, when pressure is applied.” The letter from James is not like a letter from Paul. Paul often did some “buttering up’ (pun intended) before he got to the meat as he did in 1 Corinthians, “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus.” Not James. BOOM – “count it all joy knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
On Facebook, my friend David Cartwright just quoted Bonhoeffer, “Often we combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them to be verbalized.” Biting our tongue is definitely a way to gain patience through pressure.
When we go through times of feeling distant from God, feeling the pressure of work, family matters, grief, and many other ways we feel the weight on us, we need to remember that Jesus says, Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28). I think we can count pressure, trials, and grief as all joy because those things can draw us closer to Jesus. If we let the pressures have dominion over us and drive us further from Jesus, we will by no means have joy, we will carry them on our own, and we will ultimately be crushed from the weight of them.