what’s the recipe for resilience? I think we need to balance several things.
First, there needs to be a balance between both hope and realism. Hope is essential to getting up off the floor after some hard blow; without it we may as well stay there. Hope is one of the great virtues of the Christian faith (1 Corinthians 13:13). The only safe and unbreakable hope comes from putting our faith in the God who, in Christ, has defeated all evil. Yet matching our hope there needs to be a realistic view of life that accepts that conflicts and challenges are inevitable. It’s an attitude that encourages people to make preparations well in advance. Resilient individuals put their armour on before the battle starts.
Second, there needs to be a balance between toughness and flexibility. Toughness is obviously important but resilient people know there are times and places where we need to be flexible. To survive a crisis often needs elasticity; the ability to bend not break before returning to our original shape when the crisis is over. In a gale, flexible willow trees may survive better than sturdy, rigid oaks.
Third, there needs to be a balance of both independence and dependence. It’s hard to give anyone else resilience; once someone has decided that they will lose a battle, then that’s what they will do. You’ve got to want to get up off the floor! That said, resilience is much easier if there is someone there to help you get on your feet. I feel that one of the most important roles of any church or church leader is to try to help people bounce back after the blows of life. Ultimately, the one who helps us all to get to our feet after we’ve been knocked down is God himself.