"We are pressed on every side by troubles,
but we are not crushed.
We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.
We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus
so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies."
- 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (New Living Translation)
Our picture today is of "Pirate" - the pet cat of Dorothy Barritt's granddaughter. I've always been more of a dog-person, but I must admit that I do admire how amazingly resilient cats are - that no matter what predicament they get themselves into, they seem to somehow always find a way to get out of it ... and without it really bothering them. As they say, "cats always land on their feet." Physically, I understand this to mean that cats have an inborn balancing system that helps them orient themselves in the air when they fall. But also personality-wise, I think cats seem to have the temperament that allows them quickly bounce back ... and move on ... and keep going - that no matter how rough the patch or how tight the spot, cats seem to always land on their feet. "Resilience" is this process of facing adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or extreme stress and "bouncing back" and "moving on" and "keeping going," without becoming too negatively affected by the experience. It is the recognition that we all have difficulties in life, ... that we all experience pain and hardship and sorrow, ... that we all carry scars from old wounds. But while these scars may remind us where we've been, they don't have to dictate where we're going. In fact, may of our greatest heroes and the people we admire most are those who faced much adversity in their life, but who didn't give up. Instead they kept on going until they overcame their troubles, and then went on to achieve other great successes. We hear stories of heroes like these in the Bible, as well - people who, despite difficult circumstances and even flaws in their character, were able to be used by God, because they had the resilience to press on, even amid tough circumstances. For example, we have the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. Envied by his brothers, Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt, where, after faithfully working hard, he was falsely accused of a crime and thrown into prison. With all the pain and betrayal and treachery he experienced, he must have felt discouraged and angry and bitter (and rightly so). Yet with his faith, Joseph was able to find the strength to press on, to keep bouncing back, ... and God was able to use him for much good. The story of Joseph reminds us that we can't determine what the future may hold - unforeseen circumstances and conditions (like a global pandemic) always arise. But the story also teaches us that life doesn't end just because life changes - that with our faith and the blessings of God that are all around us, we can be resilient - we can find the strength to bounce back ... and move on ... and keep going. As the old saying goes, "You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only option." So, I believe we will get through this, ... we will land on our feet, ... and God has a lot more good to do through us.
-- Pastor Micah
P.S. - One of the blessings God gives us to help us be more resilient is our pets, because they provide us with a diversion from our stress, they make us laugh, and they help us relax and reflect and regain our strength. So, today I'm offering our:
St. David's "Lovable Pet" Photo Challenge.