The squeeze

Luke 23:43 “And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.’”

Quite a few years ago a missionary was in our church talking to us about what he called “the squeeze.”  “The squeeze” as he put it, were those times in life when we may be under incredible pressure, when things aren’t going well.  Maybe they are times when we’ve been unjustly mistreated, or we’re sick, or suffering because of some terrible thing that has suddenly come into our lives or the lives of people we love.  It is at those times, when we are really being “squeezed,” that the things that are deep inside of us will find their way out, often coming out in our words.  Often it is at these times that some pretty terrible things can come out: things like complaining, or cursing, or angry and disparaging words.  It is at these times that it can be revealed to us how far we are from being truly “Christ-like” and that there is much more work to be done within us if we truly want to be like Him.  It is at such times that we become aware of these things, but Jesus is always aware.  

So, let’s think of the things that came from Jesus’ mouth when the squeeze was on Him, and in particular in his suffering leading up to and on the cross.  Here we hear some of the most wonderful things that anyone has ever said to anyone. To the thief on the cross He said “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”  Has anyone ever said anything more wonderful than that?  As people mocked Him, spit on Him, and cursed Him while He hung on the cross, – of those who had driven nails in His hands and feet and shoved a crown of thorns on His head He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  And as He suffered excruciating pain, and one would think His thoughts would only be on His own agony, He said to His mother Mary, “Woman, here is your son,” and to John, “Here is your mother.” For you see, Jesus was concerned that she would be cared for and it says “From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”  

In the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus was facing the cross and was very aware of what torture He was headed toward, He prayed “Father, not my will, but yours be done.”  And in the end, He said “it is finished,” i.e., all that the Father required for us to be saved, He had accomplished, and He also said “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” regardless of the fact that He had earlier cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”  With these words He showed that He trusted God, no matter what He was going through, and no matter how bad things looked. 

Would that we had this beauty within our own hearts.  This is what it means “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, . . . and (to be) filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 5:18). This is what it is like to be truly “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).  May “the squeeze” reveal what is really in us, and may the Lord fill us with Himself.

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