Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The pressure cooker makes good beans.

Back in the old days people cooked beans in a pressure cooker. They turned the heat up, put a lid on the beans and let her cook. Turns out pressure cookers make good beans.

Many of the people we work with are in pressure cookers. The situations they find themselves in is very stressful and many times they don't think they can hold up under it all. Missionary organizations like ours and others in the city find this dynamic troubling. We love the people who are in a bind and want to relieve the pressure. But many times by relieving the pressure, by turning the heat down, the beans don't get cooked and we do more harm than good.

Pressure is good. It is creative, it forces you to think outside the box, to take drastic measures and many times those are the very measures that you need to take to change and do good. Dr. King when leading the movement against racial prejudice called it "creative tension". When blacks sat down at the front of the bus with their white neighbors it created tension. The pressure was on, the heat up. This tension fostered an environment where communities became willing to address issues that had been long neglected. When applied to outreach ministry this tension is most necessary for change.

Crosswind and several partners run a transitional housing ministry. Over the months we have seen great successes and turn around stories. Lives touched by the gospel all moving in a new way, living out a new way. Inevitably though, there is the pressure cooker. One family gets a job and yet still has to save for utility deposits and then has to wait for an apartment to open up or address some old fines or broken relationships. Always pressure. We don't shy away from it here. You couldn't if you wanted to. We've seen family after family be trained by the pressure that they are in, God using it to "test the genuineness of their faith" or to discipline them for a while to bring about "the peaceable fruits of righteousness".

Pressure is good, it trains us, if we will heed its loving embrace. Don't turn the heat down and spoil what God is trying to do in someone's life. Stand with them there and love them as God uses you to help them learn the lesson in the pressure cooker. You'll be in it one day too.


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