2 Corinthians 8:2 “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”
An unpleasant part of life involves the experience of being squeezed. Pressure forces something on the inside to end up on the outside. Anything from trying to fit into skinny jeans to being forced out of a job. So what happens when you get squeezed? What comes out of you when you feel the pressure?
For some, being squeezed brings out rebellion, exponential self-centeredness, bitterness or depression. This was not the case, however, for the Macedonian church. Their extreme poverty squeezed out “rich generosity.” Their severe trial squeezed out love and grace. Rather than letting their difficulties press them into despair, their trials released the exact opposite. When they felt the squeeze, the presence of Christ within sprang into action. Paul describes them as an example for believers to emulate.
The joy overflowing in the Macedonian church was the result of their uncompromising abandonment to God. The core of their lives belonged to him (8:5). No wonder only goodness surfaced when they were squeezed! Christ was living in them fully and abundantly.
We have more of a choice of what comes out of us when we’re under pressure than we think. When we’re being squeezed by finances, we can choose to let stinginess come out, rationalizing we can’t afford to give. Or we can choose to intentionally ask Christ within to help us be even more generous. When we’re squeezed with life-shattering disappointment we can choose to ask Christ within to help us find hope. When we feel the pressure of someone’s rejection we can choose to ask Christ within to enable us to forgive.
Many times, when I get squeezed, insecurity pops out. As a result, I tend to withdraw, maybe entertain a little self-pity. But I’m learning the best way to face down insecurity lies in activating the security I already have in Christ. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). It’s a matter of letting God’s grace squeeze it out.
I want to live more like the Macedonians. How about you? Do you want to be so filled with the Lord that when you’re squeezed you’ll choose to let the good stuff surface?