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Resilience in difficult times

One thing this COVID-19 has taught me is that I and the vast majority of people are much stronger than we thought. We are resilient. Eight months into the pandemic, many businesses remain closed or are closing, more people are dying, and our leaders seem clueless as to how to cope with the situation. Being resilient will not make these problems go away but it will help you cope with these problems in a positive way. You will not go under.

What is resilience?

Resilience means being able to bounce back and adapt to changes when life throws punches at us. The pandemic has made it difficult for us to gather with our friends and loved ones. It has made everyday tasks like shopping and going to the post office more time consuming. Even our kids are suffering because they can’t go to school or take part in their favorite extra-curricular activities. And going to the doctor’s office poses another challenge. But we are wearing our masks, homeschooling our children, if need be, connecting with our loved ones through Zoom, Facetime and other media, and braving the weather and long lines in order to vote. Healthcare providers are reaching their clients through telehealth.

An example of resilience

One of the more popular hymns sung in Christian churches is It is Well With My Soul written by Horatio Spafford, a once successful lawyer who lost his fortunes during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Two years later, Spafford sent his wife and four daughters ahead of him to England where he planned to join them and assist D.L. Moody with his evangelistic campaigns. While crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the SS Ville Du Havre, in which Spafford’s family was traveling, collided with another ship and all four of his daughters died. Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his wife, he was inspired to write the song as his ship passed near the very spot where his daughters perished.

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Resilience can be learned

Not everyone can have the courage or the resilience to do what Spafford did. God gives it to us when we need it, and if we ask Him. But we can develop this quality by trying to have a positive outlook. This doesn’t mean we mustn’t grieve if we lose a loved one, or we don’t become anxious or worried when we receive bad news. Resilience means we don’t stay in that frame of mind forever. The time must come when we brush ourselves off, go for a walk, read a book or call up a friend. The time must come when we remember that we are not alone in our troubles. God is on our side and He has promised “never to leave us nor forsake us” (Hebrews 13: 5).

My personal takeaway

I have had to summon all the resilience I can muster since the year began. In May, in the midst of the pandemic, my husband fell and broke his hip. My greatest worry was that he had to go into a hospital full of coronavirus patients. But he went, had his surgery and is now home and walking again. My second biggest worry was how I would care for him. It was difficult, but somehow I managed to help him perform his self-care, chauffeur him back and forth to therapy, take care of the house and my business. Then, just when he was beginning to recover and it looked like we could relax a bit, his sister fell ill and died after a few short weeks. Because of the COVID-19, we couldn’t go to the funeral -she lived in New York – and had to be content with reliving the memories.

No one knows what the rest of the year holds for us. How much longer will this virus stick around? Who will fall prey to it next? How many more will die? Everything is uncertain, but in these times we can only look to God who is in control of everything. If you are experiencing difficulty of any kind and you think you don’t have the resilience to cope, why not call on God? He is only a prayer away.

I am sharing a video of Whitley Phipps singing It Is Well With My Soul in the masterful way as only he can. As you listen to the lyrics and let the richness and beauty of Whitley’s singing fill your soul, you will agree with these words from the song: Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul