Between a Rock and a Hard Place

In our loss and fear we craved the acts of religion, the ceremonies that allow us to admit our helplessness, our dependence on the great forces we do not understand.” Ursula K. Le Guin, Lavinia

I remember reading an article many years ago summarizing the data collected from a world wide survey on happiness. The surveyors concluded that the greatest self reported unhappiness was that of people in the Eastern Bloc countries of the old Soviet Union. Life was hard for many many people, but it wasn’t that – in and of itself – that was the source of the unhappiness. The problem was that they saw no way out of it… they had no control over their owns lives such that they could even plan for a way out. They were in a very hard place without hope of reprieve.

It is fascinating to me that so many people in such dire straits remain in emotional helplessness despite the fact that there is another option – the rock.

We have all been in tight spots, some worse than others. When you are in the tightest spots, where do you look for help? Deep within yourself? Some other humans? A genie in a bottle? The wisest among us look to God. But for some, that is not a good option because it means that we have to recognize the complete and utter helplessness of who we are. Our egos find that nearly impossible to accept.

Interesting enough, this has always been the case with us humans. Consider what Joshua declared to the Israelites after wandering in the desert for forty years some 3500 years ago. After calling them to trust and serve God, he says, “but if it is unpleasing in your sight to serve the LORD, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living.” (Joshua 24:15) Anyone else but the true God!

Refusal to acknowledge the true God in the midst of our helplessness is the natural tendency of the children of Adam. We are stubborn and bullheaded. The sad thing is that the only real and forever answer is to not choose the hard place, but choose the Rock. Peter wrote that, “To you who believe, then, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and, ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” (I Pet. 2:7-8)

Jesus told His hearers that He was the Rock and Cornerstone that was appointed by His Father. He is the one and only final hope out of out helpless conditions. (Matt. 21:42)

We humans really have only two viable options in life… the Rock… or the hard place.


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For His glory,


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