My mother taught me how to properly iron a shirt or blouse. (For those of you who are not familiar with an iron - it is a hand held implement with a heated flat steel base used to smooth clothes and linen!)
First, you iron both sides of the collar, then you iron and crease the sleeves and then you iron the rest of the garment. Impressed? Well, don't be - because even though I do know how to iron - ironing has fallen on hard times in my home. I must confess that I buy things that need the smallest amount of maintenance possible - and even pass on things I like because of the amount of time I would need to invest to keep them looking nice.
When I cannot escape ironing, I do several things. I look for hanging threads and cut them off; I square up the seams and make sure everything is matched; and sometimes, I even poke small snags back into the reverse side of the material.
Recently when I was ironing, I was thinking how important it is to iron items once in a while because when I do, I bring them back to their most perfect state. This thought led me to think about how God sometimes has to PRESS me to get me back to alignment with Him and His perfect plan for my life.
Let me hasten to say that nobody likes to be PRESSED! In Psalm 38:2, David complained about how he felt when he said, "Thy hand has pressed down on me." When I studied the context of this verse, I learned that Psalm 38 is a "penitential" psalm because it acknowledges the writer's sins which lie behind the troubles he is experiencing.
I do know that sometimes when I am PRESSED, it is because of my own foolish choices. There is a line from an old Scotch-Irish prayer that fits here. "Lord, grant that I may always be right, for Thou knowest I am hard to turn." Did I mention that my ancestors were the quarrelsome and obstinate Scotch-Irish?
And then, sometimes when I am PRESSED, it is because of the sins of others over which I have absolutely no control. Whatever the cause, however, the physical and emotional distress is the same.
To be PRESSED means to undergo the continuous physical force of pressure in order to be flattened or shaped. Yuck! I can tell you right now that this is NOT a good place to be... but evidently a necessary one.
I could certainly make a substantial list of pressures that would make you feel sorry for me right here and right now. But, the truth is that when I am PRESSED back to my foundation, I eventually must turn my focus back to God alone and let Him trim my hanging threads, square up my seams and poke my snags back where they belong. This is ultimately exactly where my Heavenly Father wants me to be - looking up and walking in humility!
I find that waiting for things to resolve is often so very difficult - and I know you do as well. Psalm 38:15 goes on to remind each of us that as we wait on God to do His work in us, we share the heart of David when he wrote, "But for You, O Lord, do I wait; it is You (and You alone), O Lord, my God, who will answer."