Resilience is defined as the ability to adapt successfully to challenges that potentially threaten our function and survival. That sounds serious! We all experience those difficult days that test our strength and patience, but resilient faith is needed when those life impacting, life changing, events occur.
What is resilient faith?
In our Western society faith, so often, is an easy choice. We have the freedom to go to church, to read our Bibles, and to talk about our faith without fear of recrimination. But what happens if our comfortable world is shaken in some way? What happens when our choices are restricted or reduced? Will our faith remain steadfast?
Faith is not just about what we know, but in trusting in what we don’t know. Unless we acknowledge that tension, we will never stand firm when second choices threaten to unsettle us.Jeff Lucas
Resilient faith is based on the knowledge and experience of a steadfast, true and unchanging God. When we live out our lives depending, not on the strength of our faith but on His faithfulness.
Three Ways to Build Resilient Faith
Acceptance of God’s Sovereignty
Resilient faith flourishes not because of the circumstances that we are in, but despite the circumstances. The acceptance which changes the ‘if God blesses, I will worship Him’ to ‘though I do not understand, yet will I worship.’
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”HABAKKUK 3:17-18
This is a beautifully poetic passage from Habakkuk. And reflects one of the greatest declarations of faith in Scripture. The decision to worship God for who He is, our Lord and Saviour and to accept His Sovereignty. When we are willing to submit our will to the Lord and trust in Him through our trials we can find peace of mind in daily life. A strength that develops through focusing, on the eternal rather than the temporal, and trusting in the love of the Lord.
Choose our attitude
We build spiritual resilience when we cultivate gratitude. When we are thankful for what we have, rather than focusing on what we have left behind or on what we feel we are missing.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”1 Thessalonians 5:18
We are resilient when we choose to live in the present. When we are willing to adapt and learn from the situation we are in, even when it is not to our choosing. Last year brought challenges with the restrictions that were placed on corporate worship. We then had a choice in how we responded. Were we willing to actively find other ways to connect and worship together. Or would we cling to what we had before, and miss out on a new experience in the present.
Walk humbly with God
We accept God’s Sovereignty and give thanks in all circumstances when we maintain the integrity of our faith. To walk humbly with God, reflects our dependence on Him and prayer is the key. Engaging constantly in conversation with God, for ‘pray continually’ comes before ‘give thanks in all circumstances.’ We bring our prayers and petitions to God, we talk with Him and listen for His direction and guidance and receive the strength that we need. God’s grace is sufficient and as we are inspired by His grace we are not intimidated by our circumstances!
Habakkuk completes his prayer, his declaration of faith with the confidence, that with the Lord we can rise above our circumstances:
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”Habakkuk 3:19
Resilient Faith demonstrated in the Bible
Scripture is full of examples of those who demonstrated resilient faith in their lives, such as Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Peter, Paul, and John…. Those who through immense trials and difficulties showed that we can, not only survive but, thrive where we are planted. For we are all, to a certain extent, ‘exiles’ on earth when our citizenship is in heaven.
In his book “Singing in Babylon – Finding purpose in Life’s Second Choices” Jeff Lucas explores and develops the theme of second choice lives.
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Life is never perfect. As Christians we need to move on from the myth that following Jesus will always give us what we want, our first choice. And that second choices are those situations, very real and painful, that we find ourselves in which we never would have chosen.
“Even in chaos, God has a plan and purpose. He works with the found and seeks the lost.” Jeff Lucas
The book focuses on Daniel and his friends and their lifelong exile in Babylon. The author skillfully interweaves their experiences with relevant application for our lives today. The godly principles that Daniel and his friends displayed while living out their lives in exile, brings a challenging message. When all apparent choices had been forcibly taken from them, they resolved to live their lives in worship to God, even when in a strange land.
We too can build resilience into our faith, when we trust in God through the unfamiliar and unknown. And we may find, just like Daniel, that the place of suffering can be a place of refinement and growth, where we develop a resilient faith.
33 thoughts on “Resilient Faith”
Sharon, I have been studying Daniel in recent days and I appreciate your insight, “When all apparent choices had been forcibly taken from them, they resolved to live their lives in worship to God. We too can build resilience into our faith, when we trust in God through the unfamiliar and unknown. And we may find, just like Daniel, that the place of suffering can be a place of refinement and growth, where we develop a resilient faith.”
Thank you! Daniel is one of my favourite studies which I know I will come back to time and time again.
I also just finished a study in Habakkuk, and love your use of the word resiliency. Surely we need a strong, enduring faithfulness.
We do, more than ever. I’m looking forward to your Habakkuk review – one of my favourite ‘conversations.’
Here it is, Sharon! Just a click away: https://michelemorin.net/2021/01/10/why-does-evil-exist-in-the-world/
Sharon I love the following;
‘We too can build resilience into our faith, when we trust in God through the unfamiliar and unknown. And we may find, just like Daniel, that the place of suffering can be a place of refinement and growth, where we develop a resilient faith.’ Amen!
I have found this to be true, especially through the loss of two of my children & husband.
You’re most welcome to join me in a cuppa at Tea With Jennifer,
Thank you for sharing your experience of God’s faithfulness to you through pain and grief. God bless you ????
Excellent point, here, Sharon: Engaging constantly in conversation with God, for ‘pray continually’ comes before ‘give thanks in all circumstances.’ I hadn’t thought of this “order” before. Thanks for pointing that out!
So often as we pray our perspective changes and then we are able to give thanks to God as we receive His comfort and peace.
I have had to live through this particular idea a lot the past few months, so I take these points to heart, my friend. Shared, and signing up for more posts! Be blessed!
God bless you as you trust and depend on His faithfulness.
Thank you, Sharon 🙂
You defined resilient faith so well I can now see it. Thanks. Love this, “we live out our lives depending, not on the strength of our faith but on His faithfulness.” This is a quality we need to be developing.
A journey of lifelong learning – Thank you
This us very important to remember! We have to praise and trust God in ALL things. Whether we are in a storm, out of a storm or about to go in one. It’s not what God can do but WHO He is!! Many blessings to you ????
Amen! God bless you too ????
“When we are thankful for what we have, rather than focusing on what we have left behind or on what we feel we are missing.” God has been teaching me both through formal instruction and situational that my thoughts and feelings need to align with his word. Thank you for following God lead as you wrote this post today, again reminding me that the attitude matters. I love the story of the Babylonian captives and their resilience but you put a new twist on it. Love, love love it.
Yes we learn through gaining understanding, but also so much by experience. Thank you for your encouragement in responding today!
I love the way you defined resilience. I am giving a talk on this late in the year. I will be referring back and thank you for the book recommendation. I’m so glad you posted your article with Grave and Truth. Maree
It is very much a topic for this time, God bless your preparation for your talk.
Habakkuk is one of my favorite books of the Bible. This was an excellent post, Sharon. I loved the quote you shared: “Even in chaos, God has a plan and purpose. He works with the found and seeks the lost.” (Jeff Lucas) Just beautiful!
To adapt successfully to change is something we all need more of!
Yes, to be willing to continue to learn and adapt!
Sharon, you are exactly right ” Resilient faith flourishes not because of the circumstances that we are in, but despite the circumstances. ” I believe this to be so true, and try to live accordingly. Thank you for such a blessed post.
Visiting today from Let’s Have Coffee.
Excellent definitions of resilient faith steeped in His word. You have me thinking of where I may be trusting in what I know, rather than in His sovereignty.
There is a song ‘faith without borders’ which has always challenged me. When we go out into the wide open space, beyond what we know….and trust! Thank you for visiting.
I love your thoughts on humility and gratitude, Sharon. I need to back and re-read Habakkuk. It’s a book that I don’t pay enough attention to. Thank you for reminding me!
I love reading the minor prophets, there are some great truths in there – thank you for reading and responding.