Surviving Under Pressure

In the 1960s the United States government began using nuclear reactors to power submarines.  One of the first pro-type vessels was the THRESHER.  The heavy steel bulkheads and heavy steel armor allowed it to dive deep, and withstand the tremendous pressure of the ocean depths.

Unfortunately, on a test run in 1963, the Thresher’s nuclear engine failed, and it was unable to return to the surface. The submarine sank deeper and deeper into the ocean, and the pressure became so intense that the heavy steel bulkheads buckled, crushing the Thresher with 129 people inside.

When the Navy located the Thresher, at a depth of 8,400 feet, one and a half miles down, it was crushed like an egg shell. This was not a surprise to the search team, because the pressure at that depth is an amazing 3,600 pounds per square inch.

What was surprising to the searchers was the fish they saw at that depth. These fish did not have inches of steel to protect them. They appeared to have normal skin, a fraction of an inch thick. How were these fish able to survive under all that pressure? Why were they not crushed by the weight of the water? They had a secret. Their secret was equal pressure inside and outside. This equal pressurization made it possible for them to survive at great depths, and under great pressure.

When the pressure is on, the Holy Spirit is the “Great Equalizer!  One biblical writer put it this way, “The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)   Every believer has God’s Spirit living in them, empowering them, at the moment they trust Christ, and because of His presence we become “more than conquerors through Him that loves us.”  (Romans 8:37)

For those of us who follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit’s power within us makes it possible for us to withstand the pressures of life in this world, and gives us the ability, despite difficult circumstances, to be vibrant witnesses for Christ. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives, we would have no hope, and would easily be crushed by the pressures of the world.

I am also reminded of how the potter shapes the clay jar by using his hands to exert pressure both inside and out.  It is the balance of this pressure that actually brings the clay into the exact shape and design the potter has in mind, and gives it the strength to go through the tempering fire. We must remember, God never wastes an experience in our lives, but uses each one brings us closer to the divine design He has for us.  Sickness, loss of a job, death of a loved one, or any crisis can bring just the right pressure needed to help shape us into the person He wants us to be.

Only then can we understand fully what Paul, the Apostle meant when he said, “All things work together for good to them that love God and who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)  These “things” will either make us bitter or better, the choice is ours!

So, the next time you feel the pressure is on, remember God is allowing it to mold and shape you. Remember also, He is in control, and He will not let it crush you if you trust in Him.

Adapted from an article by Steve Doyle
The Harbins Post – Harbins Community Baptist Church – Dacula, Georgia
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About Larry Doyle

Dr. Larry S. Doyle is the Director of Missions of the Piedmont Baptist Association He has served as Director of Missions since September 1, 2003. His ministry began in the pastorate in Kentucky, his native state. He served as pastor of three churches while completing his undergraduate, graduate and post graduate degrees. He and his wife Becky, a native of Greensboro, served as IMB/SBC missionaries in Ecuador from 1980 to 1992. He then came to the Triad to pastor the Hispanic Baptist Church in Kernersville, NC from 1992 to 2000. He and his wife served as the On-site Coordinator for Disaster Relief in Honduras from January 2000 to January 2001. Dr. Doyle was the International Ministries Director for the Baptist Metrolina Ministries in Charlotte, NC from 2001 to 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Kentucky University, and received a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Larry and Becky have two sons, Steve and Tim, and are the proud grandparents of three. They attend Calvary Baptist Church in McLeansville.
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