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How Do You Respond Under Pressure?

All-nighters. That is the term given to the nocturnal binge cram-sessions that every educated person is due to experience once in their life. I experienced my fair share of all-night study sessions during my college career. The copious amounts of caffeine in sugar-saturated liquid form. The bright lights. The “breaks” where I fought off the urge to plunge headlong into slumber. I would talk to myself, yell, do whatever it took to keep my bloodshot eyes open.

I’m glad to have left all-nighters behind. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to slough off all stresses of life. As life progresses, opportunities for anxiety and pressure increase. With that pressure, the temptation to go into survival-mode is immense. Like a ship that’s sinking fast, I survey the cargo of my life to see what I can jettison. Sadly, one of the easiest things for me to forsake is focused time reading and meditating on the Word. It is one of those things in my life that rarely feels urgent and often is undervalued. But that isn’t how it should be.

In Psalm 119, the Psalmist gives us a picture of a person captivated by the Word of God. In 176 verses, the psalmist approaches his devotion from different angles, considering the Word as more valuable than “thousand of gold and silver pieces” (v. 27), “sweeter than honey” (v. 103) and as life-giving (vv. 154, 156, and others). But there is one particular statement that both challenges and intrigues me.

Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.” (Psalm 119:23, ESV)

In this one verse, the psalmist proclaims that though princes would plot to overthrow him (presumably, this is King David), he will “meditate on” the Word. Not only is the psalmist’s response to read the Word, or consider the Word in a time of trouble, but he will methodically, patiently, intentionally meditate on the Word of God.

If you were to cut this psalmist, he would bleed Bible.

I am challenged and encouraged by this. I’m challenged because I fall so far short of this type of response when I feel the pressures of life closing in on me.

But I’m not left to discouragement. There is one who looked perfectly toward God’s Word in the midst of trouble. There is one who has not only meditated upon the life-giving Scriptures, but who is God’s Word incarnate. And because of Christ’s perfect obedience, including his obedience to cherish the Scriptures, I can rest in the righteousness that has been counted to me. Not only this, because I am reconciled to God, there are no pressures in this life that can tear me from his love (Rom. 8:38).

Because I am in Christ, I can rest “though princes sit plotting against me,” and I can respond rightly by meditating on God and his Word.