The press

"And when they could not come nigh unto Him for the press, they uncovered the roof where He was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." (Mark 2:4-5)

Props to this guy's friends. Can you imagine the scene? The whole city of Capernaum seems to be congregating around the building where Jesus was. So busy was it that the four men who brought their friend to see Jesus for healing, dismantled the tiling of the roof and lowered him down into the house . Right in the midst where Jesus was obviously doing something more important. A similar thing happened with the woman who had "an issue of blood twelve years" (Luke 8:43). On His way to see Jairus--the "ruler of the synagogue"--to heal his daugher, a woman pressed through the crowd in order to receive healing for something that had both bankrupted and also blacklisted her. One touch of "the border of His garment" made her whole and also socially acceptable again. He says "Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." (vs. 48) Jairus' daughter died while this was taking place, by the way. Which instance would have been more important? What order could one impose on the parsing out of Jesus' time and miracle-working power? It's not our place to say. It's our responsibility, as Jesus is everywhere by His Spirit, to press through. Jesus wasn't late, by the way. He made His way to Jairus' house and brought his (twelve year old) daughter back to life. There's more than enough to go around. Press through. Don't let the busyness of your church, your city, wherever, imply that Jesus isn't on His way to see you and give you what you need.

Pressing in

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." (Psalm 22:1-3)

This is David speaking. As the Psalms are essentially songs, this one sounds more like a dirge. So pure is this expression of exasperation that Jesus quotes it Himself upon His death. Did you ever think about the fact that you will never, ever get to experience what it's like to have the Father turn His back on you? That's enough of a shellshock to render the humble heart speechless with gratitude. Notice David's dedication to the cause. Whatever it was that caused him to cry out to God "in the daytime" and "in the night season", was quite the pressing matter. Literally squeezing the agony out of David, one day at a time. I love the phrase "night season". As if we were living on one of the poles where it's dark most of the day and all Winter long. Will you hold out? God's looking at you. You don't get to experience that kind of suffering without invitation. Keep pressing in and hold out for God. The last part of the above passage is the answer: "Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel". Praise God. You, alone, possess the ability to create an atmosphere where God can show up and change the locale for His glory and His purposes. He's coming, don't doubt.

Pressing on

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

Paul here uses the metaphor of running (as he does in many places) to illustrate the attitude of persitence that we as Christians desperately need. If you run, you know the feeling. Everything within you is telling you to give up and give in. To quit. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:42b) says Jesus to His exhausted disciples. They had arrived at Gethsemane and were no doubt spent. It's the middle of the night and all the oppression of hell is bearing down on these men. It's interesting to note that "Gethsemane" means "oil press" from the Hebrew. So intense was the weight placed on Jesus (Atlas has nothing on Him) that it squeezed out "great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:44) I think if we meditated more on the fact that Jesus didn't have to do what He did, it might ease some of the weight of our own lives--if that makes sense. Because He never gives us more than we can carry. He knows the feeling and He invites us to bring it to Him: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29)

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." (Psalm 55:22)

Release your burden to Jesus and let Him give you His in return.

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30)

Traversing the Impassable