No, this is not a reference to overeating while we are on lockdown, although that is a real concern.
David said, “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress” (Ps 4:1). Literally, he was saying, “I grew under pressure.” We think in the natural sphere that pressure makes something smaller; but in the spiritual realm, pressure leads to growth.
The background of Psalms 3 and 4 is when David had to flee for his life from Absalom. His life was in danger. As well, he had no idea when the danger would end. He did not know whom to trust. His best advisor and friend had turned against him. He didn’t know where he was safe.
Sound familiar? The flood of news feeds keeps telling us of the danger. Then, as though to further beat us down, they assure us that really no one, even the experts, have any idea when all this will be over. We are reminded that no one is really safe – keep six feet away. And don’t leave your house but somehow be sure to exercise, and above all, don’t get discouraged!
And yet, though we may think this is all a deterrent to spiritual progress, all this “pressure” can actually “enlarge” us spiritually. It is a tremendous comfort to always keep in mind that God will never allow a circumstance in your life or mine that does not have the potential for spiritual growth. Even the present pandemic with the limitations it has imposed on us to meet together as believers cannot hinder our growth. But growth will not occur automatically. Growth will require effort on our part. With added time, can I use it for studying the Word of God, listening to ministry, or for prayer? Can I turn the long hours of the day to profit by reaching out to other Christians, those who are alone, to encourage them?
Spiritual growth is not a matter of doing but of being. It is not what I accomplish for God (as valuable as that is), but what I know of God and how much of Christ I can reflect in my life.
David Livingston the famous missionary to Africa of the 1800’s was once hindered from going down river. Sadly, the obstruction was the corpses of dead slaves who had been thrown into the river. When his assistants came to him telling him that they could not navigate the river, and asked where he wanted to go, he gave his famous answer: “Anywhere as long as it is forward.”
We can go forward despite the barricades on our parks and walking paths, the curfew which says we must be in at 8 pm, and the myriad of other restrictions which tell us to stay put! We can move forward and enlarge ourselves even amidst the present circumstances. Allow the pressure to make you a bigger Christian!