What Pressure Does


“…you have set my feet in a spacious place.” (Psalm 31:8)

Last week, during our revival, I had spent the morning with my host pastor. We visited the local middle school and I spoke with the children in several classes about drawing and then sketched each one.  Afterwards, we went to lunch. Then, around 1 o’clock, I returned to the hotel room, ready for a little nap.

That’s when I saw it.

Opening the door to my room, I stood there stunned.

It looked like a bomb had gone off in the room. Trash was scattered around the floor, and bits and pieces of glass were everywhere. On top of the chest of drawers, larger bits of glass were strewn.  Nothing seemed out of place and nothing had fallen from the ceiling.

I went in search of the maid. Kristen was as shocked as I was. “I came in at 10 o’clock to get your towels,” she said. “I’ve not been back since.”

She went for her supervisor, and she in turn called for the hotel manager.

And then, we saw what had happened.

The wide screen, high definition television sat on a base made of some kind of bonded glassy material.  This was attached to the top of the chest of drawers. At some point that morning, when no one was in the room, the base had exploded, showering bits of the glassy material around the room.

Evidently, the pressure of the television had finally become too much for the base, and it had exploded.

They moved me to the room next door and set about cleaning up that room.  The maids were understandably concerned about an explosion occurring when someone–maybe themselves!–were in a room doing their daily chores. With 200 rooms and each one having the identical television, this could happen again, and probably will.

I urged the management to contact the owners to inform them what had happened. If this accident occurs again, the result could be life-threatening and the hotel’s liability enormous.

People crack under a build-up of pressure just like that all the time.

A mother who was never emotionally strong in the beginning, cracks under the daily and constant care of her several children and does something tragic to them and herself.

A businessman who had led a successful and respected life from all appearances suddenly takes his own life. Investigators discover he was dealing with incredible stresses in his personal and professional life, and had finally cracked.

King David knew about pressure and stress, as I expect all rulers do.  The song he lifted to the Lord in II Samuel 22, which is repeated as Psalm 18, expresses that pressure as well as the relief the Lord provided….

“The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me…. (Vs.5-6)

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me....(Vs. 17-18)

And He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” (Vs. 20)

“You broaden the path beneath me….” (vs. 37)

Life presses in on you with all its demands and you feel the pressure, the stress. Like the glass base of my hotel television, you cannot endure that weight forever. Without something to relieve the stress quickly, you stand in danger of cracking, of exploding, going to pieces, breaking.

The Lord is your refuge, your hiding place, the strength of your life.  He gives inner space and loosens the death-grip of life’s demands.

May I make a suggestion? If you are following Jesus Christ and yet finding life’s burdens too heavy to bear and you wonder how you can get through another day, do this…

1) Carve out some quiet time so you can be alone. Alone with yourself and with Him.

I can hear you saying, “That’s the problem–I  don’t have time for anything, especially time to stop and meditate or pray.”  The answer to that is: yes, you do.  If you have a breakdown, you will have all the time in the world. So, just do it.  No matter what rearranging you have to pull off. Do it.

2) Sit quietly and still in a room for a period of time, as little or as much as you can create. Breathe deeply. Be still. Put your feet on the floor.

3) Read the Psalms.  Many of your brothers and sisters in the faith have found strength there above anything else in God’s Word. I particularly recommend those psalms numbered in the 30s and 40s.

4) Pull up an empty chair and envision the Lord occupying it.  You already know He’s with you because we have His promise on that so many times in Scripture. But sometimes we need a little assistance to realize the truth of His nearness.

5) Now, talk to the Lord. Nothing you say will be news to Him, but tell Him anyway (that’s Matthew 6:8).  Do not–repeat, do not!–work at making your prayer theologically correct. Just tell Him what’s going on.

6) Periodically, sit there in quietness. Empty your mind. Still your heart.  Be still. Be quiet. Listen.

7) Now, do this every day, or even several times a day until you begin to sense the work of the Spirit within you lightening the load, lifting your spirits, restoring your strength.

There is no pressure relief valve like prayer. And prayer takes all kinds of forms, as you well know. Sometimes, prayer is a quick arrow shot heavenward in which you beg for the Lord’s help right then. At other times, prayer is a long walk in quietness when not a word is said.

“You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” (Psalm 66:12).


I’ve noticed that when the Lord is working with me on a subject–for a sermon or this blog–I begin to violate the very principles involved. This morning, for instance….

When I turned off the computer, I glanced at the clock. Couldn’t be right, I thought.

I was supposed to be at the church in 20 minutes, and I’d not begun to get dressed. I called down to the front desk. Yes, the clock was right. I was late.

Now, I’m stressed—rushing around, getting my clothes on, finding my shoes, gathering my Bible and materials.  Then, in the car, something occurred to me.

I was stressed.

That’s when it hit me that the very thing I’d been writing about I was now experiencing. I laughed out loud, and continued laughing halfway to the church.  When I walked inside the church, I was right on time.

Some lessons we never quit learning.



6 thoughts on “What Pressure Does

  1. so good to read how the test comes to another writer like it does me. I was beginning to think that every time I wrote something I was a hypocrite because I’m immediately tested with my own words…. sometimes they taste quite bitter… great post.

  2. Joe, as usual, you are right on target. One of these days I have to get with you and get you to draw me. I have one of me when I was in my first year at the seminary. It was drawn in the French Quarter. I’d like to see the contrast. Blessings on you as God just keeps using you.

  3. Isn’t it strange how Jesus never seemed to be in a hurry? At least I do not recall reading Scripture that tells us that he was. I lose track of time all the time and then have to rush to get somewhere. Did Jesus have an inner clock? Time wasn’t really kept back then, was it? At least not to the milli-second we keep it today. Strange how we have the same amount of time and we manage to do the things we want to do in the time we have. God created time and since Jesus was with God (at that time) I’m sure He was in agreement that we needed to have time to do the things He wanted us to do. In our society, being on ‘time’ is important. It may have been important when Jesus walked the earth as a man. Can’t recall scriptures that emphasizing it a lot. I try to be early for appointments, that helps. But sometimes you just can’t help it. I try to think, what is the worst thing that can happen I am late? That helps. Psalm 37:4 helps. “Delight thyself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of thine heart”. Saying that in the morning before I get out of bed, helps. Of course, after that verse, comes v.5 “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him and he shall bring it to pass”. And throughout that Psalm of David, it talks about ‘not fret’ting. Not worrying about things you can’t control. And, It is Jesus’ desires for us that we should all be after in life. After all, He created time and He created us to be in communion and fellowship with Him throughout our day. If our desires are not His desires for us, we should ask Him to change them to conform to His desires for us. People may read this and think that is against everything that they think about God. After all, He wouldn’t expect us to be doing His will all the “time”. I think He does expect just that. Many times it is just being still is all He wants from us. My experience walking with Him so far, is that He definitely expects us to be walking with Him all the time. And when I am walking with Him and not getting out ahead of Him, waiting for Him to direct me and not falling behind Him, doing immediately what I know He wants me to do without hesitation, I experience some of the greatest moments in my life. God has the time, He created it and is really outside of the time continuum we are on. He has all the time in the world. He longs for His children to spend time with Him. He is continually reaching out to us and wants to be intimately involved in our lives to make them more abundant (don’t read rich into that word). My life is abundant and I am definitely not rich in the material wealth of this world. The worst ‘time’s in my life were when I didn’t wait on Him and I went my own way, ignoring His timing. God’s timing was and will always be the best for us. His example showed that He never got in a hurry, yet He never wasted the time He had. He seemed to always have ‘time’ for those who turned to Him to give them some of His time. He was generous with it. We should be, too, regardless, of who it is we encounter on our journey in life. Just my take on ‘time’. Do you just not have enough time in life? Spend a little more with Him and see if He doesn’t free your calendar to get His work that He has for you to do. We have so little time on this earth, fretting about so much stuff, much of what is really out of our control and will not likely happen. Leave it to Him, He can take care of it. He is in charge even when we don’t think He is. He is, He can handle it. Tell Him all about it, He is dying to listen to you.

  4. Dear Pastor McKeever,

    I am a frequent reader of your material…and find it to be absolutely accurate; so what I am about to ask should not be mis-interpreted as criticism.

    Are you at liberty to reveal the brand of the television that expoded…and what precautions are being taken to prevent a re-occurence?

    Thanks Joe,

    Wayne Boyd

    • My apologies to Wayne Boyd. Months later, I am just now seeing this question. But my answer now is the same as it would have been then: I did not notice the make of the TV. And I did not follow up to see what was being done. The next morning, I left for home and gave it no further thought.

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