Resilience is the ability to cope with unexpected changes and challenges in our life. Parents and educators are especially focussed on growing resilience in our children as we help them build basic skills and habits that will help them deal with challenges later in life.
In the Bible we read of the Godly man, Job, who was faced with terrible calamities in his life in order to teach him important life lessons and build his character. His ten children died when a house collapsed on them, he lost most of his servants and his possessions, and he himself was ravaged by illness. His despair was such that his wife’s advice was to “Curse God and die” and several of his acquaintances insisted that he must be an exceptionally wicked man to have had such terrible things happen to him. Job’s patient and God-centred approach was such that the apostle James uses him as an example of resilience:
“As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.” (James 5: 11)
Because he held firm, Job ended up with more material things than he had before the bad things happened. If we remain spiritually resilient in the face of the bad things that inevitably happen in our lives, we too will receive an eternal reward.
What is the secret of this resilience?
When times are good we need to take on board God’s wisdom through reading His word, The Bible, and we need to develop great relationships, both with God and also with Godly friends who can build us up. In developing Godly habits, we prepare ourselves for the time when, as in Job’s experience, circumstances put our faith in God under extreme pressure.
“Consider it pure joy when you are involved in various trials, because you know the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1: 2-4).
We should also remember that our inner strength doesn’t just come from within but has to originate from God. Paul told the Philippian believers that “I can do all things through God who strengthens me “
Matthew 25 tells the parable of the young women who were waiting at the entrance to a wedding feast. Both wise and foolish young women had lamps but the wise young women had reserves of oil for their lamps so that when the bridegroom kept them waiting all night they were ready for him when he came to let them in to the wedding feast. The parallels are clear; if we “resource up” and actively build our reserves of oil or resilience, we are more likely to be ready for Jesus when he returns to the earth to set up his kingdom.
So let’s try to make good choices in our lives so that we can build resilient characters which are well positioned to, in God’s grace, receive eternal salvation.