March 12, 2021
Hope and Help When You’re Under Pressure
“So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.’” (Isaiah 28:16, NIV)
Friend to Friend
I stand inside the bones of a building. Wooden beams stretch over my head like a rib cage. I am close to the center where the heart would be. I run my hands along a rough board waiting for a wall to cover it like skin. My husband and I often venture into houses that have not yet fully become homes. With his training as an architect, he can picture it all before it comes to be. “This is where they’ll sleep,” he’ll say. “This is where they’ll watch TV.”
So it makes sense that he’s the one I ask when I come across a word in Scripture I don’t understand. I’m reading in bed and his head is already on his pillow. I nudge him anyway. “What is a Cornerstone?” I know this much: it is a name for Jesus. But beyond that I’m perplexed. He props himself up on one elbow and I watch him search for the words that I, the construction amateur, will understand. “It holds the weight of the structure,” he explains. “It keeps it from falling apart.”
I like this, and by the light of a bedside lamp I dig further. This is what I find in the class book, The Ultimate Guide to the Names of God by Elmer L. Towns, “It was common in the construction of first-century buildings to lean a building into itself. This meant that one part of the structure would have a greater amount of pressure on it than the rest of the structure. . . . This became known as the cornerstone and was the one part of the building on which the rest of the structure depended absolutely.”
One word in that description especially calls out to me: pressure. I think back over my busy day. There have been deadlines, emails, phone calls, and requests. Hurting friends to comfort, dinner to cook, and socks like a gang of feral cats in need of corralling on the laundry room floor. I have felt it all like a weight: the expectations to be so many things to so many people, to get it all done perfectly and right now. I want someone to take what I can’t possibly bear.
“So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic’” (Isaiah 28:16).
Never be stricken with panic. At first this phrase sounds strange to me, but then I realize it is the very emotion that has been just beneath the surface of my skin all day. I know what it is to have hands that shake and a heart that quakes and eyes open wide in worry.
And I am not the only one.
We all need a cornerstone. Not a vague architectural term lost mostly to history, but the One who is our living, breathing, daily reality. Sometimes, like when I wander around those half-done houses, we can’t quite see what all this means. But God always does, and he will remind us that “in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). On Him all things depend. We can rest on this truth, this promise. We don’t have to carry the weight of this world—or even just our little lives. We only need to keep leaning into love.
Dear God, thank You for being sure, strong, and true in a world that can seem uncertain and chaotic. When I try to put pressure on myself or those around me, help me depend on You, the Cornerstone, instead. Thank You for bearing the weight and holding everything together so I don’t have to. I can live in freedom and grace.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Open your hands and name one or two worries out loud, releasing them to the strong and steady Cornerstone.
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© 2021 by Holley Gerth. All rights reserved.