“Where is your God?” or “How could God let this happen?” are two questions being presented to the body of Christ right now. So how do we answer these questions? Are they not our questions to answer?
As I start this writing, I have thought about how our blog topics for each month were picked in advance. One of the previous writers stated this: “Every time a month comes, I’m facing the topic head on.” Well, here we are in April 2020, trying to live our daily lives through a pandemic, and we are talking about resilience! (Who could make this stuff up?)
The first thing we have got to remember is that God is our Creator and not our genie. His function in our lives is not to make them perfect. The second thing is that God is everywhere and has a vantage point we are unable to see or often comprehend. For example, while we see a single word in a book, He sees the whole story. The real question we should be asking ourselves is “During this pandemic, what is our true purpose in the Kingdom of God?”. What is God saying to each one of us individually?
We are all experiencing the pandemic from our own perspectives and creating our own narratives. Some people are living with fear and anxiety. For others, there have been losses and sacrifices made across the board on so many levels. From the parents who must now teach their children at home while attempting to telework, to the people who have essential jobs and must continue to go out to work, to those that have lost their jobs, as believers and non-believers, we are all trying to process our situations through our own belief systems.
Uncertainty is a part of life, right? Things are going to happen. Good, bad, or indifferent, it does not stop the world from turning. However, we have always had the idea that we could put uncertainty into a specific box in our normal life. But now, normal life has radically changed, the world is no longer the same, and compartmentalizing uncertainty has become impossible. So how do we activate our resilience?
The first step to tapping into and building our resilience is opening and reading our operations manual (aka the Bible). I almost feel like a broken record saying it, and it sounds cliché, but God’s Word is there to answer the hard questions for us and to encourage us in uncertain times. Until you get into reading the Bible and it becomes a habit, it could seem weird or odd. But if you find a translation that speaks to you and stick with it, it is amazing what God will reveal to you as an individual.
During this time of uncertainty, the only thing I can credit my peace and resilience with is God and His Word. That is not to say I view this pandemic as a rosy, sunshine-filled situation with no real danger, but that I know what fear truly is: False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. Going to the Bible and reading it does not rid us of the storm, but it shows us how to navigate it. God has given us biblical instruction in His Word so that we know how to overcome any given situation.
The next thing we have got to do in order to have resilience during uncertainty is to actively remind ourselves that we ARE going to make it through it. However, our minds are going to have to adjust in some ways.
During this pandemic there have been restrictions put in place throughout the world to contain this invisible enemy. In the United States, we have been ordered by our state governments to “stay at home”. Now that we have gone past the initial time frame of these orders, people are ready to go back to their normal lives and some have called the lockdown slavery or oppression. In American culture, we hold close the concepts of liberty and freedom. So, for something to directly affect and challenge those ideals is hard for some people.
The Word of God reminds us that our true freedom comes from Jesus Christ dying for our sins at Calvary. We were locked down, slaves, and oppressed by sin. Sin is the only thing we need freedom from.
The word resilience has often been associated with taking a stand or fighting back in a military type sense. Right now, we are facing great spiritual warfare manifesting as a worldwide pandemic.
In the Kingdom of God, resilience is about your spirit winning over your soul despite what the enemy tries to do. Right now, Covid-19 is a real threat in the natural. The enemy wants to use it to keep us focused on the natural because this is his realm of influence. By highlighting how fragile our humanity is, he can keep us distracted from what is happening in the spiritual realm.
From the beginning of humanity’s story, we see three relationships: 1) relationship between God and man, 2) relationship between people themselves, and 3) relationship between man and the enemy. The rest of the Bible plays out these three relationships throughout all time. Even within our own individual lives these three relationships can be seen.
Satan is jealous of God’s desire to have a relationship with us despite our humanity as well as our ability to form relationships with one another. The enemy desires to interrupt our relationship with God and with each other. The enemy wants us separated. Truly, the story of Adam and Eve is about so much more than eating the forbidden fruit. It speaks directly to the core of relationships.
Satan’s initial attack against us started with a conversation with Eve. Deceiving Eve was easier since she was not present when God told Adam not to eat from a specific tree. From Adam’s misstep in defending himself to God, a separation in the relationship of Adam and Eve was formed as well as a separation in the relationship between mankind and God.
Fast forward to present day. In the natural, we have a physical enemy at large. But during this time of isolation, things that have been in place for quite some time that keep us separated spiritually and prevent us from becoming one in the body of Christ have become more apparent. It is imperative that we understand and remember who man’s true enemy is.
The third step to resilience during a time of uncertainty is to stay connected to God. Even when His plan is not clear, He is always with us and will give us instructions. I could literally rewind to the beginning of this year and tell you about the things God asked me to do, what He showed me, and even how He centered my focus all in preparation for the here and now. At the time of His instruction, I honestly did not understand a lot of the things I was given, and truth be told I wanted to blow some of them off. But it is about being obedient to what He asks me to do not my limited understanding.
My focus word for 2020 is vibrancy. Going into this year, I wanted to focus on being alive and present and allowing people to see the light of God through me. Amid the pandemic, I have been given the opportunity to not only help others, but to challenge myself. This pandemic would have hindered the old me but reminding myself daily of my focus word has helped me to stay resilient. Recently the Holy Spirit reminded me that my directive had not changed. It was a reminder that He had not told me to stop what He had told me to do previously. Resilience does not mean stopping at the first sign of adversity, it means pushing through despite the opposition.
Resilience must start in our minds.
People have been so quick to throw the year 2020 as a whole away, but we are only four months in. How long does it take God to turn something around? Sometimes, not long at all. All I know is we are not even halfway through the year, and even if He takes until December 31st to redeem this year, He is still got time!
This is where resilience comes in, staying the course even when we are not able to see where things are headed. That is Faith 101. In the natural, this is a season of uncertainty most likely because of what God wants to give us spiritually. For the body of Christ, perhaps God is trying to purge what is not from Him and redesign it in the image He genuinely wants. As believers we must believe God is who He says He is. We have got to believe in His written Word. He is rewriting our “normal”. If we try to hold on tooth and nail to the way things used to be, who is really fighting to be in control? For so long we have paid lip service to so many Biblical promises, but now is the time to affirm them and genuinely believe in what God has told us. In that, resilience will flourish.
Written by Katrina Hodges