Why the LIFT Tour?
- Part 2 -
During the LIFT Tour, every attendee will have the opportunity to experience scripture in a very real and relevant way. This year, we will take an in-depth look at the life of Joseph and how he endured the process of being pressed but not CRUSHED. As he went from the “Pit” to the “Palace,” the life of Joseph is a great example of how to remain faithful in the midst of pain, betrayal, pressure and adversity. If we are honest, we have all experienced moments in our lives where we find ourselves in situations where we don’t know what to do. The pressure can be so overwhelming that it affects our ability to experience God. Pressure will either make us bitter or it will make us better.
In the words of General George S. Patton, “Pressure makes diamonds.” A diamond is composed of carbon, which under extreme amounts of pressure and heat, becomes a very hard and durable crystal. Diamonds are simply ugly pieces of worthless coal that have gone through the process of enduring extreme amounts of intense pressure over a period of time. Pastor Rick Warren once said, “God changes caterpillars into butterflies, sand into pearls and coal into diamonds, using time and pressure.” Like caterpillars, sand and coal, when it comes to dealing with the pressures of life, we must be willing to submit to a process that ultimately reveals God’s powerful promise. The promise is that no matter what happens in our lives, God will never leave us nor forsake us.
Adverse circumstances, difficult scenarios, and problematic encounters all serve as opportunities for spiritual growth. The story of Joseph provides a great narrative of how to sustain and overcome life’s hurts, habits, and hang-ups. Joseph dealt with several issues throughout his life. Time after time, bad things happened to him and he never did anything wrong. Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever asked the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I’m sure there were many moments when Joseph asked similar questions or felt a similar way. Yet, in the midst of it all, Joseph consistently trusted God, he never complained, he stayed pure, and he forgave those who meant him harm. In the end, he summarized his life by saying, “Others meant to harm me, but God intended it all for good and for the benefit of many people” (Genesis 50:20).
I know, for many of you, the pressure of the “moment” may feel fatal and final…but it’s not! Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not CRUSHED; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” When I think about this idea of being PRESSED, not CRUSHED, two great quotes come to mind:
- “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis
- “Courage is grace under pressure!” – Ernest Hemingway
Joseph’s life is a compelling story of pain, pressure, perseverance, and promise. For many of us, we can relate to Joseph, because we’ve experienced similar issues. But like Joseph, perspective and a commitment to our faith is the only way we will ever be able to endure hardships with a sense of grace and dignity. Press through! There is something great for you on the other side!