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We all experience difficulties, stresses, and trials in life. James 1:12 tells us, Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
When I was growing up my mother used to say on a regular basis “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it that counts.” I didn’t understand the depth of that saying until I was older. I now understood that she was trying to teach me -- resilience.
Resilience seems to be one of the most recent and trending topics highlighted for parenting children these days. It has been considered to be the most important virtue when promoting success in a child. Developing resilience however takes time and can be quite a dynamic process in moulding the way a child approaches and overcomes obstacles in life.
There is proof in the scriptures that God is trying to teach us, His children, to be resilient Christians.
In Revelation 2 and 3 Jesus Christ lists the weaknesses of each church mentioned and that those faults must be overcome in order to make it into His Kingdom. Resilience is one of the dynamics in this process.
There is a habit that most humans fall into when obstacles and trials are encountered and that is to ask “why me?” or “why is this happening?” or even worse “why am I being punished?” or “why is God allowing this?” However, resilience assists us in going one step beyond that so that we can maturely ask “What am I to learn from this?” But an even better step beyond that is acceptance and to ask “How can I serve in this situation?”
After being wrongly accused, Joseph had every reason in prison to ask why this was happening to him, but there is nothing in the scriptures that said he did. What we do know is that he showed great resilience in such difficult circumstances and he chose not to focus on himself but willingly served others in the prison (Genesis 39 onwards).
We live in a world where we are taught to serve ourselves and, if something doesn’t make us happy, to change the situation we switch jobs, or partners, or churches. Sometimes there are situations in which change is needed, but there are times like Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13 that we need to be content in whatever state we find ourselves. This may require the exercise of considerable resilience in order to achieve this contentment.
It takes a resilient Christian to recognize God’s will in what can be some of the worst situations that overtake us in life and to find a way to serve others.