Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds. (James 1:2)
One of the inescapable truths I have learned about change over the years is this: Nobody really likes change except a wet baby! Yet change is an unceasing, constant part of life on this earth. You can try as hard as you like to avoid it, but change will inevitably confront you and give your world a shake.
But here is a word of encouragement to keep close to you while you are living in this world of incessant change: The hard moments—moments like this season of global pandemic—will eventually pass away. One of my mom’s favorite sayings was, “This too shall pass,” and we all know that this, too, is an undeniable truth.
Whether we are facing transitions in our work environments or upheavals in our homes, we must learn to deal with change effectively. In a word, we must become resilient, which is the ability to recover quickly from change and adversity and adapt to them. If you and I are to be resilient in the face of difficulty, we must continue to rely on God. Remember that when Jesus told us to “Take heart”—even in the face of trials, troubles, and tribulations—He gave us the reason why we can take heart: because “I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
Another truth that will help us face the onslaught of challenging change is the knowledge that God’s greatest goal for us is Christlikeness. God is using every bit of this life—everything that happens to us and around us—to that end. Let me ask you this question: Looking back on your life, did you grow closer to God when the sky was blue and the sun shining brightly . . . or when storm winds blew your way? I have always grown closer to God during seasons of storms. Why? Because resilience is the right response of the redeemed. The Bible continually tells us to press on and persevere, regardless of the circumstances we are facing, and Scripture has provided us with a powerful exhortation: Fall seven times, get up eight (Proverbs 24:16).
Joseph was resilient. Moses was resilient. Esther was resilient. Peter and Paul were resilient. And who doesn’t marvel at the resilience and right response of Job? But remember, Christian, what the enemy of resilience is: an incorrect understanding of what God is doing. Often, we do not know what God is doing in a certain set of circumstances. Yes, we know the ultimate end, but in the moment things can seem capricious or even chaotic. During such times we must remember to “lean not on our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). God can see the beginning from the end, and He has everything in complete control. We must simply trust our God with all our heart, even when we cannot trace him.
Job, faced with an unimaginably crushing weight of grief and despair after losing all of his children, his wealth, and his health in one devastating series of disasters, cried out to God in his sorrow and confusion. But he also held fast to this truth:
I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes — I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)
This is the right response of the resilient.
You are in my prayers and in my heart.
Purpose and Passion,