Under Pressure

Psalm 31: 1-5

There are trees around an Ohio Wal-Mart parking lot that have been landscaped with large stones thickly piled around the base of each tree trunk. The stones then spread out filling the island around them. These trees stand starkly. They are trying to grow in a small island of soil in the midst of a black -topped parking lot and are piled with these heavy stones. The trees caught my attention as I drove into this particular Wal-Mart that I do not frequently shop. I couldn’t help but wonder… How will these beautiful living trees grow amidst the hardness that surrounds them? How will their trunks expand out and up in the normal growth pattern a tree is designed to have? How will their roots grow and expand as the tree grows? Will the rocks allow adequate rainwater those trees need to seep downward? I also noticed that there was not a single weed in the islands surrounding the trees (I first saw them late summer). Does someone come spray poisonous weed killers to keep the weeds out? Does that seep down and incidentally get absorbed by the tree roots? To my eye and mind these trees are unnecessarily under great amounts of pressure to live, thrive and be able to grow and function.

Walmart trees landscaped with large rocks

As we go around in day- to- day life, we see and know so many ladies who probably feel like one of these Wal-Mart parking lot trees. The pressures of life are weighting them down. There are so many fears, shames, guilts, past failures, looming failures, shortcomings, past hurts, and fears of future unknowns. Each one is like a heavy large stone just crushing their joy, holding them back, and not allowing them to truly thrive or grow and be who they were designed to be. These pressures are placed on many of us ladies by ourselves, by our families, by our jobs, and a great deal from the society we live in. Women and young ladies are just inundated with “ideal images” of perfection and success. Everywhere we look and live we are shown the world’s “ideal”. The lies women are fed about how they should look, what they should wear, and what they should accomplish to be of noticeable value is like the poisonous weed killer spray. Ladies inadvertently absorb those lies and let them effect their hearts and minds. Perhaps in your personal day-to-day you can visualize the picture I have painted of these trees under tremendous pressure, surrounded by hardness, and even living in soil that is occasionally poisoned. Can you relate this to the pressures in your life too? If you can, please take a look at this beautiful passage of scripture in The Bible. It shows us how to live out from under these unbearable stone like pressures of past, present and future.

Psalm 31:1-5

31 In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.

Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.

Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.

Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

This passage begins and ends (like book ends) with the absolute answer and solution to being buried under the pressures of life. Putting your trust in The Lord God of Truth will set you free. When you can say, ” God into thine hand I commit my spirit.” You are putting your faith and trust in Him. Verse 2 tells us that He can and will hear that cry. Verse 5 and 1 tells us He will deliver and redeem you speedily. What is it that has you weighted down? Maybe it is a past full of pain and hurt. Maybe you were not planted in a healthy loving environment, like the parking lot trees. So many women have faced the hurt of rejections, failures, and even abuse. And even though you go on each day, you are absolutely not growing and functioning because of the past. There is redemption/salvation through The Lord God of Truth. The Bible tells us that we were not designed to live under the pressures we place on ourselves, pressures to “be” and “look”, the pressures to live up to societies standards. We cannot bear it in our own strength. Notice in verse 3 the reference to the rock… By design, God wants to be the rock we stand on. He is to be our guide. He is to be our protector from all those pressures; no matter from which direction they are coming (past, present, future, self, job, world)! This is such a contrast to being weighed down by each burdensome rock and under great pressure. God does not desire us to live under the weight of the heavy stones of shame or regret or fear. He wants us to stand strong on the rock of His righteousness, truth and strength. Verse 4 tells us that this life will come with lies that try to ensnare us, Verse 1 that shame will try to steal our joy, and verse 2 there are pressures that will try to weigh us down. These are the realities of our lives, ladies. BUT, The Almighty Creator God delivers, strengthens, protects, and guides.

In the Gospel of Luke, Luke writes that as Jesus is hanging on the cross he cries out in a loud voice “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”(read Luke 23:46). just like Verse 5 of Psalm 31. This is amazing to me that as Jesus was under the tremendous pain and pressure of a death on the cross, while also bearing the weight of all our sins…He shows us what it means to commit our heart, and soul to God. He shows us that we cannot live this life alone in our own strength. And how amazing that the very One who died on that cross, is the very One that provides THE way for us to have that personal relationship with God (our Rock to stand upon) when we put our faith and trust in Jesus and give our hearts to Him.

My Dad’s trees. I love the new row of saplings next to these big grown trees… showing the potential and giving an example of how small the grown trees started out. They are even beautifully evergreen in the barren winter.

There is a line of trees my dad planted from the sapling stage on the west side of my parent’s house. They have good soil. They have afternoon and evening sunlight, fresh air, and plenty of water. My dad has gone out in the dry summer months to water and care for those trees for years. The saplings grew big and strong. They have withstood the winds and storms that come in fiercely from the west year after year. You can see evidence that the trees have been growing strong anchored roots and developed tall broadening trunks. They are beautiful evergreens that now stand upward of 15 feet tall where birds build nests, squirrels frolic, rabbits hide themselves, and grandkids play hide- and-seek. These trees have enjoyed awesome growth and developed great beauty and strength. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that he came to give life and give life more abundantly. When the pressures of your life begin to pile up like stones and weight you down… instead of trying to make it on your own… You can stand on the Rock! God desires you to grow unhindered, beautiful and strong with Him as your strength and guide.

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