Sitting on the deck, listening to the crows making a racket as their fledglings are learning to fly and the adult woodpecker with its young at the fat ball encouraging them to eat and breathing in all of God’s creation in the peace, my eyes were drawn to the fuschia plants in my hanging basket. A few weeks ago, we had torrential rain and localised flooding and sadly the fuchsia drowned. I felt sad as it was so full and so beautiful. Even the geraniums had gotten moldy!
I repotted both the baskets, cutting back the dead growth and thought I had nothing to lose as I had already lost them once! A couple of weeks later they started to flourish once more. Resilience sprang to mind. These little plants withstood adversity and came bouncing back to life.
As I pondered that process and the joy that it brought me, it made me think about human resilience and lessons from God’s word.
Several people from the Bible sprang to mind and maybe when you stop to think, you will think of different people to me!
Job – a family man and prosperous until disaster struck and he lost everything.
Then Job got up and tore his robe.He shaved his head, and then he threw himself down with his face to the ground. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. May the name of the Lord be blessed!” In all this Job did not sin, nor did he charge God with moral impropriety.
Despite job feeling so down with life he still praised God rather than let his situation get the better of him. He did suffer with his struggles and we do too – we can question and doubt events in life just like Job and then like him, we can repent and be humble.
I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. I say to God: Do not declare me guilty, but tell me what charges you have against me. Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the plans of the wicked? Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see as a mortal sees?
Moses – He struggled. He didn’t believe he could deliver his people from Egypt yet with Gods help he did. For four decades he led an entire people through the barren wilderness towards the Promised Land. Throughout those long decades of adversity, Moses had to provide physically for the people, to prevent them starving or dehydrating, he had to mediate between competing Israelite groups and he, like all leaders, had to keep the people of Israel spiritually focused on the promise of God that God would provide them with their own land. This story is found in the book of Exodus.
We can be resilient because God is making all things new.
Don’t remember these earlier events;don’t recall these former events. Look, I am about to do something new.Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it?Yes, I will make a road in the wildernessand paths in the wastelands.
Peter – He talks about how he would never deny Jesus.
ThenJesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written,
‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’
But after I am raised, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”Peter said to him, “Even if they all fall away, I will not!”Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth,today—this very night—before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”31 But Peterinsisted emphatically,“Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you.” And all of them said the same thing. (Mark 14:26-31)
However we read in Mark 14:72,
Immediately a roostercrowed a second time. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him: “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
We need to remember that with God all things are possible and find strength, comfort and guidance in the Lord.
Choosing to trust in the Lord rather than rely on what we understand is the best way to stay resilient. In previous blogs we have suggested practical ways to manage stress, illness, worry, anxiety which are all worth a read.
James offers sound advice:
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joywhen you fall into all sorts of trials,because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him.
Maybe you could journal for yourself a list of resilient people in the Bible. Here’s a start: Jesus, Paul, David, Naomi and Ruth… Add them to the comments if you would like to share!
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God.
I strengthen you— yes, I help you— yes, I uphold you with my victorious right hand.