Pressure leaves a mark

“Whenever this happens, my heart stops— I’m stunned, I can’t catch my breath. Listen to it! Listen to his thunder, the rolling, rumbling thunder of his voice. He lets loose his lightnings from horizon to horizon, lighting up the earth from pole to pole. In their wake, the thunder echoes his voice, powerful and majestic. He lets out all the stops, he holds nothing back. No one can mistake that voice— His word thundering so wondrously, his mighty acts staggering our understanding. He orders the snow, ‘Blanket the earth!’ and the rain, ‘Soak the whole countryside!’ No one can escape the weather—it’s there. And no one can escape from God. Wild animals take shelter, crawling into their dens, When blizzards roar out of the north and freezing rain crusts the land. It’s God’s breath that forms the ice, it’s God’s breath that turns lakes and rivers solid. And yes, it’s God who fills clouds with rainwater and hurls lightning from them every which way. He puts them through their paces—first this way, then that— commands them to do what he says all over the world. Whether for discipline or grace or extravagant love, he makes sure they make their mark. (Job 37:5-6)

Rainstorms in my neck of the woods are rare and when they finally come, I just love to listen to the falling of the rain, but rainstorms in my area are usually accompanied by high winds and lots of lightning. They call them monsoons and they come with a fury. I love the smell of the rain, but wish it didn't come with destructive force. I love the freshness a strong wind brings, but I don't like the downed limbs and the piled leaves. Yet, in spite of what I wished would be different, it is all a blessing from God. It is how rain comes to the Arizona desert - fast and furious. Will I curse his blessing? Nope. Would I have wished for something slightly less furious and a little more tranquil - sure - but I can never forget - when storms come, regardless of how they arrive, they are God's way of making a mark in our lives!

God 'makes marks' in lives - not always in the manner in which we'd like him to make his mark. If you have leaned against anything for a while, then removed your leg or arm from that resting spot, you might have noticed it left an impression. Those impressions aren't permanent, though - they will pass as the elasticity of your flesh begins to go back to a normal appearance. God's marks have a way of being a whole lot more 'permanent' than the one left by the impression of what we observed when the 'pressure' was off that spot where we were leaning. The thing these two might just have in common is that they are oftentimes the result of some form of pressure. Think about the weather - even it is a result of some form of 'pressure'.

We cannot see God's influence in our lives apart from the pressure it takes to create that 'mark'. Job had been under 'extreme pressure' - having lost family members, been an outcast in his community because he was covered with boils or sores on his body, and even felt the rejection of close friends who judged him as 'having done something wrong'. The pressure just didn't seem to let up for him. Yet, at the end of it all he remarked: "Whether for discipline or grace or extravagant love, God makes his mark." I choose to believe it is God's extravagant love that is the impetus behind the pressure we feel in life - the pressure that will reveal the mark of God within us. How about you? Feeling any pressure right now? It could be God is about to 'mark out' something in you that hadn't previously been marked as his. The pressure we feel is about to make that mark known. So, don't resist the pressure - remember it is his extreme love that is applying that pressure. It is our extreme obedience that will embrace it! Just sayin!

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