This is the fifth and last post in a series Resilience as Practice for Kingdom Dwellers. Click here to view all posts in the series.
Isaiah 12:6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel who is among you.
Proverbs 10:28 The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
“Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to become untrue? What’s happened to the world?” “A great Shadow has departed,” said Gandalf, and then he laughed and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count. — Tolkien, The Return of the King
No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. — CS Lewis
Resilient people are, all things considered, thankful to be alive. This is also a noteworthy feature of survivor psychology. Adversity brings into focus the reality that another day is a gift, not to be taken for granted; and furthermore, that each day brings its own gifts.
The resilient take notice.
They are in the habit of paying attention.
These words are from a friend within the rock climbing community, after he lost his leg, his dreams, and very nearly his life to a massive, rogue boulder:
‘Awe is the seed of love.’ I’ve chosen to carry this line with me to remind me to look for beauty. It reads as an instruction from me to me. Shudder before the beautiful … The act of being humbled by beauty opens us to the seed of love, and there is comfort in the seed of love.
As Christians, we live and move in the love of God. It is everywhere, if we open our eyes to see it. GK Chesterton said, “There is no way in which a person can earn a star or deserve a sunset.” We are to be hunters of such gifts. We are to notice and pay attention to every shred of beauty and goodness and serendipity in our world. This matters, because our weapons are not only suffering and truth and perseverance, but also beauty and joy.
Dance and merriment are frivolous, unimportant down here; for “down here” is not their natural place. Here, they are a moment’s rest for the life we were placed here to live. But in this world everything is upside down. That which, if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest that which in a better country is the End of ends. … Joy is the serious business of Heaven. – CS Lewis
Evil knows nothing of honest mirth and ordinary joy. It is not comforted by the beautiful. It has no sense of merriment, no inclination to laugh at itself. It has nothing of substance to offer.
All loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies, and itchings that Hell contains, if rolled into one single experience and put into the scale against the least moment of joy that is felt by the least in Heaven, would have no weight that could be registered at all. – CS Lewis
As the people of Heaven, it is our privilege to fight the good fight not grim faced, but with our joy. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh 8:10), and our deadliest weapon against evil. Diligently opening our eyes to joy changes our experience of life. It works, even when we do not believe it will.
When we faithfully mark every good thing in and out of days, we propagate resilience exponentially. Our attention bends to the actuality of God’s ever-present love for us, personally and specifically. It becomes an ongoing and manifest affirmation that we are seen, that life matters, that being is good; an asseveration that every given day is a grace to be received; humbly, in quietness and trust, even with joy.
The one thing we need to do when times are hardest, is to live another day.
– or, La Lucha es Vida
“Resilience can go an awful long way.” — Eddie the Eagle, Olympic ski jumper
Human beings were created to be part of something greater than themselves. People were made for worship; for weighty works of goodness; for eternal significance.
It is time for Kingdom dwellers to rise and take hearty ownership of what we leave in the world. Each day matters. We are called to do hard things and holy things, also in our weakness, and also in the midst of obstacle and uncertainty.
It is in the greatest adversity that life has greatest meaning.
It is when things seem utterly lost, that God accomplishes His eucatastrophe.
Living is worth it.
Don’t give a milimeter to the other side.
Also, let us not judge how hard or how easy the story may be for others. We are not God. That is not for us. What is needful is our willingness to trust God with our own story.
The truth is that the part that has been assigned to us lives within a story grander than we could even imagine. In the midst of everything, God is doing incredible things. One day, when all is revealed, the little stories of the ordinary, enduring, sons and daughters of the Kingdom of God will shine like stars in the greatest story the universe will ever be told.
Our new life in Christ has already begun, and the earth will be ours for eternity. Let us not live small. Let us shoulder our loads and live. There is work before us. “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation what you believe to be the will of God” (Jim Elliot).
La lucha es vida. The struggle is life. For Kingdom dwellers, life really is “a risky, surprise-filled adventure, … a dancing, leaping, daring kind of life” (Eugene Peterson).
Not that we have already obtained it all, or that we have already become perfect, but we press on, in resilience, on this great venture, that we may lay hold of that for which also we were laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Further up and further in!