I had the opportunity to share a message with a group of about seventy-five women at a Bible study that meets here in North Phoenix. I’ve been looking for opportunities to speak and talk about how we as Christians all experience suffering to a varying degree. This opportunity was birthed from the book I wrote and have since felt compelled to share my experience with anyone that I can.
One of the ways we grieve is to keep the memory of the loved one who we lost, alive and at the forefront of our mind. This is usually dependent on the way a person passed and the life that was being lived in that moment. In the third chapter of The Last Day of Regret, I share this, “The pain of death’s sting directly correlates to our proximity to the one who died, the phase of life and story of the one who died, and the manner in which our loved on died.”
To this room filled with moms of all ages, I began my message stating that at some point the world breaks you. Death can be the thing that breaks you. News of cancer can be the thing that breaks you. The loss of a job can break you. Becoming disabled in some capacity because of an accident or fighting in battle can break you.
I look in admiration at those who can overcome and make something of their life in spite of the cards that are dealt them. I look upon those who have been crushed and feel defeated with empathy and understanding of their pain in some way. I understand why the latter group cannot stand up with the overwhelming weight of tragedy upon them.
What separates those who are able to make lemonade and those who hold sour grapes in their hands? Resilience seems to be a major quality for those that can overcome the worst that life throws at them. I normally use the word perseverance to describe the highest of qualities a person should have but it seems that there needs to be more.
Perseverance is the ability to get up and keep going, tenacious, but I have found that I do this with an attitude of brokenness. For a long time I told myself, “I’m broken, but I’m okay.” I think this served me for a time, but it needs to change because it is just a stepping stone. This thought is to validate that life has given us a crushing blow, but we will keep going in spite of our feelings.
The next phase of my maturity has taught me that at some point, we need to make a decision. Are we going to be just, “okay” or are we going to get better? Do we believe that we can get back to the state we were in before the event happened? That is where a tenacious person has the ability to display another much-needed quality, which is resilience.
Resilience is defined as, “the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched.” A person who has a high level of resilience is the person that does more than just settling for a state of moving forward but wants to move forward in the same way they were before tragedy struck. When you are bent, stretched and even broken, can you return to your original state?
Sometimes it seems almost impossible based off of the circumstance or one’s feeling in the moment. It is hard to be objective in this pursuit, when it is very subjective to a person’s personality and circumstance.
Let’s play the “What if” game? What if you chose to be resilient, regardless of your emotions? Resilience isn’t a feeling it’s an action. Resilience doesn’t happen in the moment, it takes place over time. A resilient person has a vision for their life and purpose. The resilient person is determined to see life in a new way that accepts their circumstances but does not allow the circumstance to have the final say.
Where does God play into all this? You could take this the wrong way and believe this all needs to be your own will and doing. Non-Christians can have resilience but I think a Christian has great potential to allow God to empower them by the Holy Spirit to build resilience within them supernaturally.
Romans 8 is an amazing passage on all that God does through the Holy Spirit. If you want to learn about all that the Holy Spirit accomplishes in the life of a believer, study Romans chapter 8 and ask yourself with each verse, what is the Holy Spirit’s role in this passage?
After a long diatribe by Paul on the Holy Spirit’s power in us and through our weaknesses, he gives us an amazing exposition of resilience.
Three Truths to becoming a resilient person:
Romans 8:31, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
1) God is for you
Do you know that because of the Holy Spirit’s life giving power in your life, that God promises that he is not just with you but he is for you? He is on your side in this fight against the worst of what this side of eternity holds. You must believe that you are not alone and do not have to fight each day alone.
Romans 8: 35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”
2) Tribulation cannot stop you
Paul answers his own question in verse 37 with a resounding, “NO.” None of these things can separate us from the love of Christ. You may not feel loved, when you are suffering; but the truth is these troubles cannot place a wedge between Christ’s ability or desire to love you. In verses 38 and 39 he lists all of these earthly and otherworldly things that can possibly create a gap between us and God and Paul’s answer is nothing. “Death nor life…nothing in all creation,” can come in the way of God’s love in Christ for you. You are not alone and you will never be alone.
Romans 8:37 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
3) You are more than a conqueror
Resilience is found right in this heroic statement about our fight against the world. We not only conquer, we do more than that, we bounce back and become even more than what we were before tragedy struck. It may not happen until we reach the other side of eternity. We may not feel it now. You need to believe, all that Christ has done to enable God’s love to be lavished on us by the power of the Holy Spirit, is our resilience. You are not alone, you will never be alone and you will overcome by His great mercy.
You are not simply one who conquers; you are resilient, you bounce back, because of Jesus who first conquered this life for us.
In Truth & Love
Matthew J. Diaz
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