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Pilgrim's Guides


  Minimizing Grief's Desolation
Part Four



Expressing Grief and Loss
When Impatience Sets in

The Power of Resilience
Bringing Rest to Troubled Souls
Too Many Choices
When the Grass Appears Greener
Wounds in the Household of Faith
Moving beyond the Reefs of Rejection
Handling Dark Times: Tunnel Experiences
The Dark Night of the Soul

  Resilience: The power or ability to return to the original form, or position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
  Researching the theme of resilience, Lyndall Bywater discovered that it enables us to “withstand shock without it causing permanent damage or rupture.”4 God has made us intrinsically resilient, and given us amazing protective mechanisms to absorb and recover from immense physical and emotional pain. Even though we may have suffered great loss, we must resist the temptation to sit back and settle for less: resilient faith helps us to bounce back again.

After the authorities had banned the apostles from mentioning the name of Jesus, there was a real danger that the fledgling church would lose its way. “It’s no good, Jesus,” they might have protested. “We’ve done our best, but it just isn’t the same without You; we can’t do any more!” Rather than giving up, or putting on a brave face and pretending that everything was okay, we read in Acts 4 that they turned to the Lord with still greater intensity, refusing to assume that they had failed just because they were meeting such strenuous opposition.

In times of shock, it helps to rehearse what God has said to us. Isn’t it better to have our lives shaped more by God’s promises than by how circumstances appear? “This is how things appear, Lord, and this is what other people are saying – but what do You have to say about it?”

No one enjoys these testing periods, but such was the disciples’ strength of spirit that they were remarkably unperturbed by them. After all, Jesus had told them plainly that they would encounter many such difficulties.
Refusing to let the pressure make them retreat into themselves, the disciples rose to the challenge. Since the Divine Script Writer had allowed these scenarios to come about, He must have a way of bringing eternal good out of them.

May the Lord make us like the early Christians who “used” persecution to drive them to seek God more earnestly, and who refused to stop witnessing to what they knew to be true. When they asked the Lord to “consider their threats” it was their way of saying, “Lord, this is Your problem: we must get on with the mission You have sent us on.”

How infinitely better this was than forming “A Committee to study Safe Responses in Times of Persecution.” Calling on the Lord for boldness, the apostles cried, “Stretch out Your hand to heal, Lord” – and promptly went out and did the very thing the authorities had forbidden them to do: preaching the gospel everywhere they could.
There is nothing “safe” about being led by the Spirit! Those who are hostile to the work of the Spirit always cramp and oppose prophets and pioneers, and try to impose a more conventional course of action. We cannot afford to change the agenda God has given us just because the going is tough – or even because certain prayers appear to remain unanswered.

At a time when I was feeling overwhelmed by a number of daunting challenges, I picked up my much loved Living Bible and opened it at Hosea 6:1-2:


Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces;
now He will heal us.
He has injured us;
now He will bandage our wounds.
In just a short time –
two or three days at the most –
He will set us on our feet again,
so that we may live in His kindness.


This passage provided just the comfort that I needed, firstly because it spoke of the Lord working within precisely the time frame I needed Him to move in, and secondly because it raised my hopes that I would be able to enjoy “living in His kindness” beyond the immediate crisis.

The following day, while I was out walking the dog, I found myself caught up in an unexpected vision. I was eleven years old and running out to play for the school football team on a cold winter’s morning. Unlike anyone else in the team I was wearing gloves to protect my fingers against the cold. “You took stick for standing out for what you know you needed to do,” the Lord reminded me, “and you are doing the same thing now. Remember: the mockery didn’t stop you rising to become joint captain.”

I had long since forgotten all this, but now that the Lord highlighted it, I could remember being teased for wearing gloves. I also remember the wonderfully successful season we enjoyed the following year, during which two of us operated an unusual but highly successful arrangement as joint captains of the team.

This powerful reminder increased my trust that the Lord really was going to turn an immensely painful situation around. It was doubly special that He did so precisely three days later.

Reflect and Pray
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5

What areas of your life do you particularly need resilience in at the moment? Take time to identify and pray for the Lord to increase your resilience in the face of these threats and challenges.



Serif photo dvd


Bringing Rest to Troubled Souls
It is foolish to tear one’s hair in grief, as though sorrow would be made less by baldness.

During World War II, the Royal Air Force dropped enormous bundles of tin foil to confuse the Nazi anti-aircraft radar defences. They called these decoys “Window”. Grief often leaves us feeling overwhelmed, however, by the amount of “noise” on the radar screens of our hearts. Read More . . .
4 Lyndall is the National Prayer Coordinator for the Salvation Army

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