Resilience amid life’s storms
Today’s column explores how inspiration, joy, and healing break through the storms of fear and self-doubt.
—Several weeks ago, an early spring snowstorm dumped well over a foot of thick, wet snow in my area. Bushes and pine limbs and overhead wires drooped heavily with the crushing load. This had happened in past years, but never so severely. In my yard the shapely limbs of a favorite dogwood tree lay so low across the ground, I feared the tree might never recover. To my amazement and relief, after a few days of warming sunshine, the tree gradually rose up and resumed its regal posture.
This got me pondering. Sometimes the “storms” we might encounter in our personal lives would weigh us down with grief, anger, frustration, or fear. But what I’ve come to realize is that they do not ultimately have the power to crush our inspiration or sense of purpose, though it may appear so temporarily. When we patiently trust the warm “sunshine” of God’s ever-present care, we will rise up again – see renewed vision, inspiration, and healing joy break through in our experience.
This isn’t a question of blind faith, but of trust that springs from an understanding of our indestructible relation to God, divine Love, our Father-Mother. In the Bible, a book I’ve found profoundly helpful in my life, is this promise that I love and think of as applying to both men and women: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand” (Psalms 37:23, 24).
I have found that key to feeling and living the God-given resilience we each have is the realization that our true identity is spiritual and governed by God’s law of good. Over and over the Bible assures us that God is our very life. As the apostle Paul describes it, we “live, and move, and have our being” in the one divine Spirit (Acts 17:28). In fact, as I’ve learned through Christian Science, the way God forever sees us is the way He made us: pure and without defects, God’s own spiritual reflection, not impacted by storms or fears.
These ideas have helped me see that whatever tempts us to give up, to turn inward in self-pity, or to freeze with fear stems from a misapprehension of what we are as God’s children. When we earnestly turn to God in prayer, accepting the profound spiritual truth that we can never really be separated from good, the mental mists of self-doubt, fear, and emotional or even physical pain melt away, showing they were never really part of our identity.
Christ Jesus himself felt the heavy mental weight of the world – of bald materialism, ignorance, and hatred – that would try to crush out his life and mission. But because he understood his inherent unity with God, even his crucifixion on the cross could not stop him from rising triumphantly over the grave to bring hope to all the world.
Each of us can strive to follow Jesus’ example in some degree. We are God-impelled to rise up out of trials with renewed vigor and spiritual understanding. In fact, the “stormy” times are what often reveal hidden strength and awaken dormant spiritual qualities such as tender, caring love, patience, and wisdom.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, experienced many daunting trials in her life. And yet she was able to write with conviction these lines, excerpted from her poem titled “Satisfied”:
“It matters not what be thy lot,
So Love doth guide;
For storm or shine, pure peace is thine,
Love looseth thee, and lifteth me,
Ayont hate’s thrall:
There Life is light, and wisdom might,
And God is All.”
(“Poems,” p. 79)
She saw the spiritual power behind resilience and understood how God’s love meets all our needs. So even when the most challenging circumstances try to weigh us down, we can find inspiration and strength by acknowledging that God is our Life and letting His supreme power and lovingkindness lift us up. Then we eventually see that as God’s children, we can never really lose anything good, and as we increasingly grow in strength, gratitude to God, and holy inspiration, we find the freedom to stand tall once again.