For the Christian, spiritual resilience, which goes well beyond just being positive, is a core essential to living a life of faith. One need only look at the early Christians undergoing persecution starting with St. Stephen to see shining examples of spiritual resilience. Living spiritual resilience, a life of faith, means living in love, with hope and trusting God is in complete control of every detail of our life, no matter what is happening. It is our witness of resiliency in every circumstance of our life, particularly when it involves trial and suffering, that bears witness to our faith and attracts others to the faith in Jesus Christ. It was the resilience of the Apostles and early Christians, especially under extreme persecution, which stood in sharp contrast against the prevailing culture which attracted multitudes to the faith. No ‘eye for an eye’ was evident in their resilience, rather hearts full of love and hope trusting Jesus was present and in control. The martyrs of the church through the centuries have demonstrated extreme resilience as they went to their death joyfully, affirming their trust in God’s Providence.
Resilience requires a degree of dispassionate detachment from the current circumstances of our lives as we see it from the larger perspective. In secular terms, we might say that we are looking at our life from the 40,000 foot level. But in our relationship with Jesus, it is so much more than that, because in that relationship, as we hope to love as He loves, we can see as He sees. And the way He sees our lives is with love and compassion. As we see with His perspective, it is much broader than just the current circumstance; He is seeing our situation as part of our journey toward Him and eternity.
But how do we as ordinary Christians develop spiritual resiliency that will carry us through any adversity? After all, it is not just a choice and then we have the ability, rather, it is something that must be developed in our lives.