Nope. That’s not a typo. It’s what is happening to you if you live in this world, and I assume, if you’re reading this, you live here on planet earth.
Thlipsis is the Greek word for tribulation, and it means pressure, oppression, stress, anguish, adversity, affliction, crushing, squashing, squeezing, distress. It is pressure that comes against that which otherwise is free and unfettered. It is what happens to grapes when they’re made into wine and olives when they’re made into oil.
We might think we’ve cornered the market on this kind of crushing, pressurized stress here in our modern society, but it has always been part of living in the world. More than 2,000 years ago, Jesus faced the impossible anguish of being nailed to a cross. He knew what was coming, and in His humanity, He was under the same kind of crushing weight of oppression that we face each day, except He didn’t try to escape from it, but willingly died a horrible death for the sole purpose of saving me and you. He knew the unimaginable suffering of the cross, but trusted our Father’s plan to raise Him from death so that we, you and I, could live with Him in eternity.
Just before Jesus went to the cross, He told His followers:
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me, you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation (thlipsis); but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.John 16:33
What a hilariously encouraging concept! If only we choose to believe that Jesus is our Savior, that He died for you and me, then the crushing weight of the world becomes cause for “good cheer!” When we’re cheerful, we feel light and airy, not weighed down and depressed. The more the world and its ruler, Satan, presses in, crushing the life out of us, the more Jesus breathes His life into us. As we allow Him to breathe His life into us, we become like fine wine that cheers others without any drunkenness or stupor and oil that anoints ourselves and others to reach our true, creative potential.
I laugh in the face of thlipsis! How about you?
Amen and amen!