THE PURPOSE OF PRESSURE
“Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” Exodus 1:11, 12
Why does God allow pressure and difficulty to come to His children? We can be sure that He has a purpose, and one of these purposes is seen in our Scripture. The children of Israel lived in Egypt for centuries. Long after the death of Joseph and Pharaoh, a new king came into power that was concerned about the number and might of the Israelites. In an effort designed to slow the growth of the Israelite nation and subdue this people, “they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens.” To bring these people safely under his control, the king would use force. However, the plan of the king of Egypt resulted in just the opposite. Instead of weakening the Israelites, it strengthened them: “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.”
Resistance and pressure can actually be a catalyst that produces character. We see the same affect in the New Testament with the persecution of the churches. Rather than destroy the churches, opposition scattered them, only multiplying their message and influence. When the church at Jerusalem was threatened and beaten, they prayed for help and boldness and grew more determined than ever to carry out the Great Commission.
All of us are going to face pressure and trials during our lives. It may come in the form of persecution, resistance, false accusations, disappointments, betrayal, or any of many other types of opposition. What will that pressure do? Why would God allow it? He uses pressure to make us stronger. He uses difficulty to build character in our lives.
When we study the history of Baptists throughout the centuries, we see that they were almost always a persecuted people. Every imaginable religious group has hated them. They even faced intense persecution in the early days of our nation. However, these pressures have not succeeded in stamping out the presence of these faithful witnesses. True Christians have historically responded to difficulty with faith and determination. It could be said that pressure is often the thing that actually proves the sincerity of true believers.