But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair – 2 Cor. 4:7-8 NKJV
Crushed means pressured. It is the same Greek word for tribulation, also meaning affliction and adversity. It attempts to squeeze out our joy, peace, and rest in the Lord.
Pressures come from various sources. Self-induced pressure causes us to seek perfection because of our expectations. Peer pressure influences us to live up to a certain image, to look and act like others. External pressures to fit into the things of the world. Evil pressure from our adversary battles us through oppression, obstacles, and opposition.
In an oil press, they crushed olives and broke them to produce oil. In the Bible, oil is one symbol of the Holy Spirit. Before the Holy Spirit came, a crushing occurred through the crucifixion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. He was crushed for us for our transgressions, paid the price for our sin, and rose victorious on the third day.
Under pressure from every side, we rest in the finished work of the Lord. Like Paul, we discover we may be hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed. On the contrary, the crushing causes an abundance of the anointing of the Holy Spirit to flow in and through our lives, from glory to glory!