A week ago, on the school run, I spotted these violas growing on the pavement. It would be hard to think of a more inhospitable place for a plant to put down roots: solid concrete with a light sprinkling of grit, heavy shade from parked cars one minute and baking sun the next, not to mention the ever-present threat of dog pee or a heavy foot. I felt sure they wouldn’t last long. But I was wrong, they are still there today, a sweet surprise for anyone who happens to spot them.
– Charlotte Packer reflecting on her photo Friday’s Flowers
Resilience is the process of facing adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or extreme stress and “bouncing back” successfully without becoming too negatively affected by the experience. The concept has received growing attention because of the usefulness of possessing a reasonable amount of resilience in the face of life’s difficulties. After all, who among us doesn’t face major stressors, in one form or another? The question is, “How can we have the resilience to deal with what happens and not be destroyed emotionally in the process?” – Introduction to a study entitled resilience from adventist.org
Romans 8:28 NRSV
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
If ever there was a great biblical examplar of resilience, it is the apostle Paul. According to his own testimony he experienced imprisonments, countless floggings, being near death, whippings…, beatings…, being stoned, shipwrecks, being adrift at sea, danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from his own people … toil and hardship, many a sleepless night, hunger and thirst, being often without food, cold and naked. … “Resilience” is the ability to respond creatively to stressful, pressure-packed, anxiety-producing situations such as Paul’s. A resilient person, rather than being deformed, diminished, or even destroyed by such traumatic, tension-filled circumstances, is able to engage those conditions in healthy, redemptive ways that bring some degree of wholeness. – Robert Mullholland, Weavings, Feb/March/April 2013
One’s doing well if age improves even slightly one’s capacity to hold on to that vital truism: “This too shall pass.” – Alain de Botton
Psalm 46:1–3 NIV
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 44:6-8 NIV
I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God, we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever.
Trust is the essential key in resilience, trusting that when the curve heads south, God is still at work in the midst of the shifts and changes. Don’t jump off and crash, but pay attention; trust and learn some practices to hold you until the new emerges.
– Larry Peacock, The Resilience Spiral
The powers of darkness gather about the soul and shut Jesus from our sight, and at times we can only wait in sorrow and amazement until the cloud passes over. These seasons are sometimes terrible. Hope seems to fail, and despair seizes upon us. In these dreadful hours, we must learn to trust, to depend solely upon the merits of the atonement, and in all our helpless unworthiness cast ourselves upon the merits of the crucified and risen Saviour. We shall never perish while we do this—never! When light shines on our pathway, it is no great thing to be strong in the strength of grace. But to wait patiently in hope when clouds envelop us and all is dark requires faith and submission which causes our will to be swallowed up in the will of God. We are too quickly discouraged and earnestly cry for the trial to be removed from us when we should plead for patience to endure and grace to overcome.
– Ellen G. White, God’s Amazing Grace
Philippians 4:6-7 NRSV
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Lord, we pray
not for tranquillity
nor that our tribulations may cease
for thy Spirit
and thy love
that thou grant us
strength and grace
to overcome adversity
through Jesus Christ.
Be sure to check out the fabulous writing and photography of Charlotte Packer on her blog, Charlotte’s Plot
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