I've been preaching through Philippians for the last couple of months. One of the things it's reminded me of is the importance and beauty of resilience. Resilience is a testimony to God's power at work in a person's life.
Resilience is different than perserverance to me. Perseverance brings connotations of sucking it up and finishing something. Resilience is more of an ongoing ability to continue to progress indefinitely, no matter how many setbacks one has–with joy and a sense of purpose. Like a Weeble. Like a rubber band. The dictionary offers a couple of definitions:
- the power or ability to return to the original form, position,etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
- ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity,or the like; buoyancy.
Thomas Edison once said, "I haven't failed. I've identified 10,000 ways this doesn’t work." Is that resilience? No. Resilience is what Paul had. Shipwreck, beating, jail, discouragement, persecution? Check. But, Paul was supplied by God's Spirit with resilience. He kept planting churches, encouraging churches, praying for pastors, and doing it with some joy. He was resilient.
Resilience is "buoyancy," a gift of God, a fortitude of spirit that continues to bless one's efforts to persevere by providing contentment, energy, joy, and peace through trial. Life in the church is a great resilience test. In fact, life itself is a test of resilience. Paul, beaten, persecuted and imprisoned said "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, Rejoice." That's what resilience sounds like.
A word of encouragement for today. Don't let discouragement weigh on you to the point of despair. Don't take failure as the last word. Don't let others beat you into submission or sour your spirit. Don't let the Evil One convince you that your sin defines you–that God can't do mighty things in your life. Paul's example shows us the power of the God of resilience.
God raises the dead. That's resiliency.
That's what I will pray for you today.
Buoyancy. Resilience. A million rubber bands of resiliency (Alan Simpson's language).
Provided by God.
"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies" (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
May the life of Jesus be manifested in us today.