Resilience the Necessity for Life
United Nation's Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is "the most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War". There is no denying that this is a big one.
Whether we'll remain physically well or not, we're all being affected in various ways. Even though restrictions may be easing where you and I live, most of us are carefully taking precautions to avoid getting infected ourselves and infecting others. We are wiping, and spraying, and if someone is coughing we are going int he opposite direction. We are taking more vitamins, and trying to be healthy in as many ways as possible, but it is not only our physical health that is at risk. Our mental health is also being challenged.
The United Nations has warned that the coronavirus pandemic risks sparking a major global mental health crisis.
The UN says while protecting physical health has been the main concern during the first months of the crisis, it is also placing huge mental strains on large swathes of the global population.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned: "After decades of neglect and under investment in mental health services, the Covid-19 pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional mental stress."
"Even when the pandemic is brought under control, grief, anxiety and depression will continue to affect people and communities," he said.
People are under mental strain as they face the fear of themselves or loved ones being infected, or even dying, from this virus. There is the strain of livelihoods being at risk and jobs being lost, being separated form loved ones during drastic lock-down measures, and all of this causes psychological distress. The elderly are stressed by their added risk brought on by age, but the children are stressed as they are sent home form school and are left unsure about their future.
And then there are those who are stuck in a house with an abusive partner…trying to decide which is more dangerous....the virus or the one they share a home with.
And the first responders are finding it tough too…as the pressure has led to a rise in suicide amongst medical workers…the struggle is real to just keep positive it seems.
It’s into this space that we need to find hope…that we need a bit of guidance to face the challenge of this age. And there is no better example than Jesus.
How do we manage our thoughts and feelings in this crisis so we can get through this, and maybe, even come out stronger?
The certainty of life is that it always changes. We live in a fallen world where at times we face the inevitable. There are things that happen which one may not be prepared for, such as adversities, set-backs, failures and losses. The ability to recover from any difficult situation is called resilience. In the words of George S Patton, “Success is how high you bounce once you hit bottom.” In the real world success is not the absence of failure, but maneuvering through the storms of life and succeeding in spite of set-backs.
We need resilience to bounce back from any adverse situation. When we are in the pit, we need resilience to bounce back from the pit. Without resilience some people may not even survive in the pit. Therefore, resilience is the necessity of life. Resilience is adjusting to the changes of life and to live with purpose to the best of our abilities in any given circumstances. It is the ability to bounce back and not be destroyed or consumed by adversity.
Some people are more resilient than others, however resilience can be developed and it develops best in the midst of adversity. The Bible is full of stories of resilient heroes who through their adversities bounced back and fulfilled God’s will. One such story is of an insignificant blind beggar.
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.
This blind beggar was insignificant to most people because he was blind and he lived on the mercy of others to feed him. People didn’t care much about his welfare and least about him getting his sight back. He heard about Jesus and when He was passing by, the beggar called out to Jesus, but the others asked him to be quiet. The blind beggar was resilient and He shouted all the more. He regained his sight because he was resilient. If he had remained quiet, he would have remained blind and a beggar forever, but his situation changes because of his resilience, because of his faith in Jesus.
Have you ever been like this begger? It seems as though your situation is not getting better....that things are getting harder…this coronavirus is not leaving… your kids are driving you bonkers....your spouse is getting on your last nerve…and God seems to not be answering your prayers… What do you do? Do you throw your hands up in despair, or do we drop to our knees and seek the Lord while He may be found!
3 things we learn from this beggar
He asked while Jesus was near
During our enforced staycation…we have had ample opportunity to seek the Lord. (except maybe for those homeschooling :-) Elijah heard God in a still small voice when he stopped running…and we too can encounter God in those quiet spaces in our lives!
He listened to the right voice
It seems we all have a million voices speaking to us throughout the day… Some say this…some say that…but what does God say? Can you hear His voice over the noise?! Do you recognize His voice calling out to you in the middle of your situation?
There are some days where discouragement hits me…there is a voice that says you are a failure, you can’t make it, you will never be good enough.... I have learned that when I hear those words, I know that it is not my God speaking! For he says in His word Philippians 4:13
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
and also that Romans 8:37
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
Listen to the right voice and allow God to fortify your mind…remind you of the victory that He has won…and how He sees you…that is what truly matters.
He told the Lord what he needed
The last one is simple…tell God what it is you need. Don’t hold back. Don’t be cute....if there is ever a time to be honest, now is the time… Don’t stress and worry about it....take it to God! Philippians 4:6
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Let Him know what is going on (He knows anyway, He’s just checking to see how stubborn we will be before we hand it over to Him…We know He can do a better job....but we need to trust Him) We can trust the God will take our deepest darkest secrets…the needs that we have never mentioned to anyone....and He will not expose us…but will carry us through. it doesn’t mean we won’t take bumps, but will not be destroyed as long as we remain in His hands!
When Jesus says to the blind beggar your faith has healed you, it means his resilience has healed him. Resilience can take different forms for different people and circumstances. For some resilience is to be at peace in the midst of adversity, for others it is to have patience with the ups and downs in life, while for some it is to rejoice in your suffering. Resilience is the flexibility to adapt to a change and submit to God’s divine purpose and will for your life.
Life has it tough moments and if you are in the midst of it, take courage and be strong, for you are created to bounce back from everything and in every situation.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.