Reset to Resilience
Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again’ - Nelson Mandela
Resilience is a word that’s fashionable these days - there are an abundance of books and podcasts on the subject. When we turn to scripture, we see that for followers of Jesus, a happy, carefree life void of suffering is not promised, but rather strength to stay the course is promised - resilience that is based, not just on our own resolve, but comes as we walk daily seeking the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
In Acts 4, Peter and John were arrested and spent an overnight in jail - but their prayer is not for escape, but for strength to endure:
‘Now, Lord, consider the bad things they say they are going to do. Help us to be very bold when we speak your word (Acts 4:29).
The apostle Paul also spoke, not only about his very real struggles, but his resilience too:
‘We are pushed hard from all sides. But we are not beaten down. We are bewildered. But that doesn’t make us loose hope. Others make us suffer. But God does not desert us. We are knocked down. But we are not knocked out (2 Corinthians 4:8–9).
This much is certain: trials will come, and resilience is vital.
Consider these words of Jesus:
‘So then, everyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like a wise man. He builds his house on the rock. The rain comes down. The water rises. The winds blow and beat against that house. But it does not fall. It is built on the rock. But everyone who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man. He builds his house on sand. The rain comes down. The water rises. The winds blow and beat against that house. And it falls with a loud crash.’ Jesus finished saying all these things. The crowds were amazed at his teaching. He taught like one who had authority. He did not speak like their teachers of the law. (Matthew 7:24–29).
Notice that Jesus taught that those who built their lives on the rock don’t get exempted from the storms - but they are able to remain firmly founded when the rains come.