What does it Take to Thrive Under Pressure?
Part of the Poetry Project
Suggested by a Reading of Psalm 12
Read Psalm 12
“There is no strength left in the world of men.”
—Elrond, in The Fellowship of the Ring,
by J.R.R. Tolkein
Resilience is the ability to thrive under pressure.
I have seen some remarkable examples of resilience in life. Double amputees overcoming the loss of both legs to resume life with gusto; Girls with MS running (and winning) races and collapsing into coaches arms at the finish line. And then there is that rock in the picture above.
You see it? It’s the green one bathed in sunlight. For more between 12-16 hours a day, 365 days a year, that rock is under at least 12 feet of ocean salt water in Acadia, Maine. And yet, that moss is resilient. It persists. Despite all that it must endure, it grows, it thrives. Cut off from light, under the weight of several tons of briny water, the moss clings to that rock and continues to endure. It’s a remarkable picture of resilience.
That kind of resilience in Americans is becoming harder and harder to find.
But that kind of resilience or perseverance is what David is aiming at in Psalm 12 when he cries out to God for salvation. He feels alone. The godly and faithful ones have vanished. He is surrounded by the mouths of flatterers he knows he can’t trust. And so he cries out for rescue and God answers. This psalm is rooted in the dirty, earthy, mess of the “children of men” (cf. vs 1, 8). This is a reality check psalm. It begins in a harrowing situation and ends with “the wicked prowling” on every side.
But in the middle of the mess, in the middle of the psalm is hope of the righteous. God will arise (vs. 5), place in safety (vs. 5b), keep and guard (vs. 7) those who are His. Hope belongs to the one who in the midst of pain, and sorrow, and heartache, and fear, and the wicked choices of others cling to the “pure words” of the YHWH (vs. 6).
Clinging to a Rock
Solid rock, firm and sure
The kind of rock to build a house on
That can’t be moved
Because You won’t be moved.
Our hope and trust
Our eyes object when we don’t know what to do
Our treasure when other treasures are taken
Our joy when other joys are removed
Is always, must always be, You,
And the words that You have spoken
When others speak only lies.
“All we get to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us.”
Resilience comes from trusting in the ONE who is always faithful. Resilience comes when we decide to trust Him in the time that we are given.
Go to Psalm 13