The Last Half-Hour
"He that shall endure unto the end..." (Matthew 24:13)
A preacher once pointed out that the way to have more power in the spiritual life is to have more pressure. The secret of power in a steam engine is the pressure of steam. The engine says, "I want more power," and the answer comes, "Put on more pressure."
God intends the utilization of pressure in any life to be the secret power in that life, for He makes all trial, suffering and bitterness the occasion of imparting Himself and His power to the one who will trust Him. The secret of the Apostle Paul’s power was his utilizing the pressure of all kinds of strain – human or satanic. He took pleasure in pressure because thus he obtained more of God’s power. "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Cor. 12:10).
It is not the pressure itself but the using of it that brings us into the place of power, through "fire and water, into a wealthy place," into "the place far above all" where Christ Himself so delivers from the stress and strain that in the midst of pressure we do not feel the pressure, but only His presence and grace.
This is exemplified in Paul’s words to the Corinthians, when he related the story of the trouble which came to him in Asia. How helpless Paul felt his words tell us. "...We were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life," he said (2 Cor. 1:8). Where now is manifest the victory of the Cross? Only in the unseen realm. The pressure was utilized to press the apostle into greater power. At the time in Ephesus nothing appears to have been gained. The apostle over whom the stir was made just escaped death, and quietly departs from Macedonia.
So also at Calvary. A mocking multitude. Crucifixion. Silence. Apparent triumph of the mob and the powers of darkness. But afterwards millions of souls brought through that death from darkness into light.
So with the children of God in personal experience. "Pressed out of measure," "without strength," "despairing even of life" – where is the victory? Where is the power to conquer? Why the apparent triumph of the enemy? In the unseen realm we find the answer. His conquering ones know victory by defeat. The believer is shown the secret.
The pressure is the sentence of death upon all natural resources – even of physical strength, all natural buoyancy of character, or any help that comes from temperament or strength of will, or self-power in every shape and form. The pressure must be great enough to press out all strength and hope outside God. And why? "That we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead, who delivered...and doth deliver..." (2 Cor. 1:9-10).
The enemy rages, and the soul looks on "without strength," without hope. Ah, how can this be claiming "the victory of Calvary"? we cry. And we discover that outward defeat is the very victory of Calvary wrought into us, as we sink down in despair of ourselves into God, to see Him "raise the dead" and deliver.
The "problem of obtaining great things from God lies in the problem of holding on the last half-hour," once said the late Rev. C. G. Moore. The pressure just now on the saints of God means to test whether they will hold on during the last half-hour which precedes the dawn. The conflict is intensifying into pressure which is harder to hold through than sharp attacks of the enemy. "And he…shall wear out the saints," was the warning issued to Daniel to the saints of this hour (Dan. 7:25).
The wearing out process brought to bear upon the Lord’s people is harder to recognize as of the foe than the more terrifying roaring of the lion in hell. The church is entering the "last half-hour." There is a pressure of the adversary which needs all the sustaining power of God to enable His children to hold through. Nevertheless Calvary is Victory, and the "last half-hour" precedes the dawn.