Jordan Ministries
Embracing God's Promise of Abundance When Hardship Endures
Squished & Squeezed
by Jenny on October 10th, 2018

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

A friendly warning (especially for the male audience)--this post contains information pertaining to a rather "sensitive" experience. But since it's an experience to which all western-women can relate--all western-women over the age of forty, anyway--I share.

Last week I endured the pleasure of my first mammogram. To call it a "sensitive" experience is an understatement. Though I reminded myself to feel grateful that such technology is even available to us as women, I dreaded my appointment. I resented the fact that I am old enough to need a mammogram. I had a baby at forty just so I could forgo my mammogram for another year on account of nursing (just kidding, a baby at forty was simply a sweet surprise!). When the technician learned that I had nursed six babies, she assured me my "discomfort" from the mammogram would be no worse than that of six wee ones squirming, tugging, kicking, pulling and biting that same area. And while I did not enjoy being hard-pressed on every side (ah-hem), I did manage to endure the procedure without tears (and although I thoroughly enjoyed nursing my babies, there were tears on more than one occasion).

As I await the results of my exam I've had time to consider all that could come about from a test like this. I can't help but relate a few similarities between a mammogram and life itself.

The purpose of the squishing and the squeezing during a mammogram is to reveal any abnormalities in the tissue being examined. A mammogram can detect abnormalities before they become apparent to our eyes or our hands. The pressure applied during the exam helps spread-out the tissue so that the radiologist can see all he or she needs to see. The pressure is uncomfortable, to say the least. But it is the pressure that reveals the true nature of what lies underneath. I believe the same idea holds true with the pressures of life.

The Bible tells of many times when God allowed His people to endure trials for the purpose of testing (and growing) their faith. God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son, on an altar, but at the last minute God said, "Abraham! Do not lay a hand on the boy! Now I know that you truly fear God . . ." (Genesis 22:11-12) God led the Israelites through the wilderness for forty years, humbling and testing them to prove their character, and to find out whether or not they would obey His commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2) God allowed Job to be tested (see the book of Job, especially Job 23:10), and Daniel, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (see the book of Daniel). Peter the disciple warned that we would "have to endure many trials for a little while." He explains, "These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold." (1 Peter 1:6-7)

If God is all-knowing, why does He need to "test" us? Doesn't He already know how our faith will fare? Yes. I think many times it's us--not God--who need to discover the strength, and many times the object, of our faith.

The apostle Paul too faced many pressures as he spread the news of the Gospel to churches in the New Testament. In the beginning of his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul writes, "We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God." (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)

THAT, I believe, is why God allows us to be squished and squeezed by the pressures of life. The Message translates Jesus' words in Matthew 5:3 as this, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule."

The principle of testing being proving grounds for our faith is why New Testament writers tell us to "rejoice in our afflictions." In his letter to believers in Rome Paul writes, "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." (Romans 5:3-4) James, the half-brother of Jesus, goes as far as to tell us to consider it pure joy when trouble comes our way. Why? Because when our faith is tested, when our faith is squished and squeezed, then the endurance of our faith has a chance to grow. (James 1:2-3)

Although uncomfortable, we as women benefit from mammograms. It's what helps reveal any abnormalities that lie underneath. The same holds true with the pressures of life. It's us who benefit. If you feel as though you are being squished and squeezed, James again says to consider yourself--myself--blessed. "Because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:12)

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Crossing Your Jordan

I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling, Bible-teaching mom of six, and wife to my college sweetheart. I believe everyone can live a life of abundance through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and radical obedience to His Word.

Do you have a relationship with God through Christ? If not, I would consider it pure joy to tell you about God, why you need Him, and how to be reconciled to Him through Christ.

If you know Christ as your Savior, do you know how to follow Him as Lord? If, like me, life's challenges have caused you to question whether you truly want to follow God's plan for you, or you simply don't know how to recognize God's ways due to a lack of biblical literacy, I would love to teach you what I've come to know about God through His Word.

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