• Coach Shonda McCray

Resilience: In The Midst Of Trials

All of us have found ourselves in the middle of difficult circumstances. Maybe you are in the thick of it right now! Whether you’ve been deeply wounded by other people, are facing a financial crisis, or have lost a loved one, the pain and discouragement can feel overwhelming. These hardships that come along so often threaten to rob us of peace, joy, and hope. It is so hard to look beyond the current situations we are facing because we can’t see the end result and the light at the end of the tunnel seems non-existent.

Sometimes the trials we face drag us into the mud and we simply cannot see any hope of it ever ending. Sometimes we feel as if the world has crushed us to the point of no return. And redemption? Hope? Those ideas look like fiction, not reality. Overcoming our trials? That seems like a dream. And coming out on the other side as a whole person? Impossible.

But what if it is possible to rise above our circumstances? What if redemption and hope really are reality? What if we don’t have to succumb to being just a shadow of ourselves? What if we really can rise up out of the ashes? What if we actually can thrive even after all the pain and sorrow we’ve faced?

I want us to dwell on these thoughts, to ponder these questions. In short, I want us to look at the word “resilience” and consider how we might endure the hardships of life and come out on the other side stronger, having built-in ourselves the ability to last despite what life throws at us.

What does it mean to be resilient?

Not every person has the ability to endure the situations that come up in their lives. And all too often, we see people who have been worn down by all that life has thrown at them, sometimes to the point of completely giving up hope or even having given up on living. Others, having no hope, pursue all sorts of harmful things, further perpetuating the pain they have encountered. To these people, any possibility of seeing their situations turn around appears impossible.

Their problem is that they lack resilience and as a result, they simply cannot make it through their problems in healthy ways. The word “resilient” means “able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions”. It carries a similar meaning to strength of character, ability to last, and hardiness. To be resilient means that we have the ability to endure incredibly challenging circumstances without succumbing to the pressures.

Job: an example of resilience

An excellent example of resilience is found in the life of the biblical character Job. If you haven’t read the book of Job lately, I highly recommend doing so because it tackles big questions about sin, suffering, and the sovereignty of God. It also illustrates what it looks like to face seemingly insurmountable circumstances with strength and to come out on the other side as a stronger and more faith-filled person.

Now, Job is described in Scripture as being an obedient God-follower. God knew him to be unwavering in his faith and very devout and thus allowed him to be tested. Satan was given permission to take his possessions, family, and even his health with the restriction that he could not take his life.

Job lost everything. His children were killed when the house they were in collapsed. His animals were stolen or burned up. He even suffered from boils on his body. The situation was so bad that even his wife told him that he should curse God and die.

To make matters worse, the people he thought were his friends told him that he must have committed some sort of horrible sin to deserve such punishment. Instead of supporting him and being compassionate, they heaped more hurt on him.

Job was adamant that he did not sin against God, that he was still right before Him. He pleaded for God to come and speak to him face to face because he wanted to know why all these things had happened. God eventually did come and talk to him, and later on, Job’s losses were restored. He was given more children and his possessions increased substantially.

The incredible thing about Job is that he did not give up. Despite all the suffering he was facing, he refused to turn his back on God. Instead, he kept pleading for God to hear him. And he held onto his faith, believing that God was the giver of all things and even if those things were taken away, He was still good. His statement in Job 1:21 was “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (NKJV). In all this, Job held firm to his belief in God and did not cave into the pressure from his wife and friends to give up. He was resilient.

Resilience and Perseverance

Being resilient reminds me of the biblical concept of perseverance. Now, resilience is more so the quality of being able to bounce back from adversity while perseverance is better described as persistence despite difficulties. But the two go hand in hand. Perseverance requires resilience. For us to persevere, we must be able to press on regardless of the circumstances. We must be strong in character and have the ability to remain true for the long haul.

So consider this. Are you resilient? Do you stand up strong under whatever situation you face? Or do you crumble in the face of adversity? Be honest with yourself. Remember this is a non-judgment zone.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to have us look at two things: why we can be resilient and how we can do so.

I hope that you've enjoyed this week's journal entry and you will return next week. My goal is to send love and encouragement to you and your household. Wherever you are in your journey, know that you are not alone. God is with you...

Thank you for reading.

© I am Coach Shonda

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