Thursday, August 7, 2014

When Grief Teaches Resilience

This is not... a grief article. It’s a celebration for the resilience that the Holy Spirit gives us as we ask. Yet, it’s precisely through grief that the Holy Spirit will gift us with resilience. There is such a thing as the most palpable quiet and stable strength that is wrought only through treading faithfully our weakest moments. And faithfulness is defined by God, not the world.
Outcomes of transcendence are painfully borne.
Yet, the more we journey the more we realise that our feelings bear up better under the same pressure; indeed, God is allowing even more pressure to come in. It’s offensive to the Western world that God is a Refiner’s Fire. We have only benefit and not inordinate loss by accepting this. It is a key component in constructing the machinery of our resilience. As we supposedly “consider it pure joy to endure trials of many kinds” there is something incredible that happens within; a purging, purifying, yet harmonising process.
Abiding is the characteristic glue of growth. Abiding with the Holy Spirit – which so many times is about going against the world – is the key to purging and purifying.
As the storm carves its way,
As we bear pressure night and day,
Something comes on in,
To deal with and despatch our sin.
God is proving us to be true,
As he continues to make us new,
This pressure it will spend,
But his energy he will lend.
I hate the clichés diluting the truth of God’s revelation as it filters through as the emergent light every desperate soul needs. Many despicable things are said about ‘strength in weakness’ by people who perhaps have little true understanding (i.e. limited life experience of actual surrender when confronted by the elements of loss).
Strength in weakness is a thing to be lived, to be noted; it’s a thing to be affirmed. It is not designed as a neat ‘n’ tidy cliché.
This pressure it will spend us beyond what we can, alone, stand. This is normal. This is life for the disciple. And the opportunity is just a matter of time away for all of us. It is intended to drive us into the heart of God! Will we go? – That’s the key question.
But his energy he will lend – this is strength in weakness. He will give it for the moment and for the moment, alone. This strength is bounteous, but we must rely on God every moment.
Strength in weakness,
Better known as meekness,
Per life’s stormy way,
Better to have little to say.
As hope makes its way known,
Through God’s strength as it’s shown,
Somehow day is made of night,
But only by God’s gracious might.
There is little to say other than to convey love. No ‘advice’ is worthy of God when God is dealing graciously with a soul in grief, intended for resilience, part the way through the journey. And ‘somehow’ is such a powerful word as to be inexplicable.
When God’s might is experienced at the point of abject brokenness untold gifts of revelation are given.
Grief teaches resilience. It softens. It strengthens. It fires divine resolve.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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