For they did not get the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them.
Resilience is wonderful unless God, who is the source of all strength and life, is an afterthought and human beings take credit for having what it takes to overcome hardship.
I wonder how many Israelites took credit for conquering the Promised Land. I hope none of them did but I know human nature. We are proud beings with fragile egos. We will think better of ourselves if we believe we had something to do with our victories. How sad if any one of them went through 40 years of wandering, testing, victory, defeat, even judgment, and came out the other side not understanding that it was God who spared them. It was God who saved them. It was God who showed mercy because He was the covenant God. The suffering (upon those who ended up boasting of their own power) was wasted.
Tribulation can be for naught in my life too. Don’t these sentiments sound familiar?
- I come from strong stock. I will get through this.
- Nothing is going to take me down. I’m a survivor.
- They haven’t heard the last word from me yet.
- It will take more than this to defeat me.
What’s missing are acknowledgements of need. I am alive because God gave me breath just a second ago. What does it take for me to come to the end of myself and confess complete dependence on God? Unfortunately, it takes a lot. And not hard to fathom, there are some who will never feel they need God despite crushing personal pain.
How about you? Don’t you want to squeeze the most wisdom out of hardship? I do. We are not sadists. We don’t wish for travail but we also know that, when it comes, it is a trial or two that brings the treasures of darkness to the children of God. Christ is sweeter and sweeter when need increases.
If I am strong, You made me strong. If I survive, You have gifted it. If there is re-building, You gave the resilience. Let me never forget. Amen
Originally published Wednesday, 14 November 2018.