Summary: How do we bounce back after a terrible experience? King David helps us to see.
Resilience Synonyms: Flexibility, pliancy (pliable), recoil, snap, pliability, elasticity
Resilience is desirable because ? [Enables you to bounce back after a struggle or loss; enables you to adapt to change, which is one of the few constants in life.
Have you ever tried to use an old rubber band to wrap something up? It breaks. Why? It is dried up, has lost its capacity to stretch. Elastic is made with rubber and rubber ages and breaks down. Resiliency keeps us flexible and able to respond through life’s changes.
An interesting person in the Bible is King David. He was far from perfect, like most of us, and he faced a number of really terrifying situations in his life. One of them happened after he was pronounced king.
The outgoing king, Saul, did his level best to hunt and kill David. He was on the run for months, living like an animal in caves, living in constant fear for his life. He was also a song writer. Who knew? So he wrote a number of songs that are recorded in the book of Psalms.
Here’s one where we get some insight into this fella’s experience, and also his resiliency, his ability to deal with uncertainty and the unknown, even the unknown threat around him. Here is Psalm 18, curated for the best bits:
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:
1 I love you, Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.
as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
46 The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!
So, a couple things. David is very honest about the depth of his hardship and struggle. He’s not in denial. He talks about the cords of death and the cords of the grave feeling like they’re strangling him. He’s feeling things deeply and being truthful to himself. It’s an overwhelming situation.
He’s also being truthful in seeing the limits of his own capacity to fix his own situation, which is mostly out of his control. David was a guy who took charge when he needed to and could. He was responsible and action-oriented. He was also a guy who relied on a key relationship when he couldn’t handle things. Knowing who to go for when we need support is really important.
David relied on his relationship with God when the going got tough. He could do that because he spent time nurturing that relationship when things were not so bad. When he was a shepherd in the field, when he was not facing trouble, he still spent time with God.
So David says he calls to God for help, and then, lo and behold (we don’t know how long it took but that didn’t seem to matter to David), God responded (v6). God heard his cry and did something.