by Patti Davis
A foundation upon which I’ve built my home, this passage of scripture was read to me dozens of times in my youth. And yet, I was curious as to what the treasure was and who could access it. I loved ultimately discovering that everybody who believes in Jesus Christ and the work He did at Calvary can access this treasure, otherwise known as the Holy Spirit.I was that earthen vessel, who would experience sadness, tears, weakness, and fear. But because of the Holy Spirit within me, I was not defeated. I was able to push back from the inside out and equalize the pressure. Just like a submarine equalizes the pressure inside its cabin before it’s taken down into the deep waters, those of us in Christ can call upon Him to equalize the pressure before our lives are taken into the deep unknown of adversity.
If you ever questioned God’s ability to redeem whatever He chooses, no matter how horrific, I want to lay your doubt to rest. As a child, I had a rage-aholic mother. I struggled in school, and suffered both physical and sexual abuse. But when a neighbor invited me to participate in a children’s program at their church, something changed. That local church filled with complete strangers soon became a sanctuary from my chaotic and unpredictable home life. While living with my mother was difficult, I discovered living with God was not, so I asked Him into my heart. And once He was in my heart, I noticed He would go home with me.
In spite of being under God’s protection, my adult life was still a series of struggles. My marriage to my high school sweetheart led to heartache. I would receive a devastating health diagnosis, followed by a life-changing car accident, divorce, and homelessness. But through it all, God remained faithful in His care of me. For anyone who wonders what purpose God has for your troubles, I want to testify I received comfort in the midst of wounding and a new outlook during severe trials. With the verse from 2 Corinthians in mind, I hope to help shape your perspective on adversity.
To be hard-pressed is to apply a steady force of pressure on something – on our mind or our spirit. Every side means inside and outside – with inside speaking to afflictions and outside speaking to fears. The image it should evoke is our enemies pressing in from every side and yet not crushing us, because the police of heaven have cleared a way just wide enough for us to pass through to safety.
I used to murmur and complain to God because the avenue wasn’t wide enough. I didn’t like the constant pressure and I remember crying out to God, telling Him if He lifted the storm from me, I’d be able to walk in peace. I’ll never forget His answer:
Patti, I really don’t have to get rid of the problem, and you don’t have to worry about it. I will fill the situation with my strength and my peace, and it will be the same relief as if the problem was gone . . .as long as you lean on me.
Now I can confidently cry out, “I can do this, Lord, if You are with me!” Keep in mind Satan wants to thwart this kind of testimony because it will influence and speak to the world’s need for a Savior. Satan knows the world is watching and a crushed spirit is easy for him to control.
Several stories in my book speak to the intense pressure I experienced when my life was stripped of everything and I was left in a heap. God asked me to not give in to the pressure but instead, to rise in faith. He made a way because He wanted to use me. He wanted me to testify His grace is sufficient. But first, I had to lay my spirit in His hands and let Him revive me, as He exposed His will in every situation.
Yes, Satan has tried on more than one occasion to target my faith, but I’m here to testify that nothing can keep us from God’s timing and plan. I can’t allow Satan to steal my tomorrow. Instead, I must give God enough time to talk to me and reveal His will to me. I’ve learned that He’s never too late. I’ve learned to wait. And when God delivers me out of a certain sorrow, I find myself in a new place of higher service.
My stories are not intended to bring disrespect to any of the people in my life. I love my family, and I know I was placed inside its nucleus. As a part of that, my parents set my physical DNA and controlled and regulated my early life experiences. And in light of that, my desire is to share the story of how my God reached inside of me and spiritually reset my DNA. My testimony is not about avoiding the stresses of life, but rather learning to thrive within the stress – to face it head on and not let it get the best of us.
My prayer for you is that my story, my journey with Jesus, will enlarge your heart, expand your faith, and give you hope. May we all chase His strength in times when the outward circumstances of our lives become unbearable and allow God to have the last word.