Right now, we’re in a sort of global denial about the actual cost of these hard years (which are not over). We just want to get past it all, so we’re currently trying to comfort ourselves with some sense of recovery and relief. But folks, we haven’t yet paid the psychological bill for all we’ve been through. We would never tell a survivor of abuse that the trauma must be over now that the abuse has stopped. And yet that mentality is at play in our collective denial of the trauma we’ve been through.
We need to be kinder to our souls than that. Denial heals nothing, which is why I’m more concerned about what’s coming than what lies behind. In our compromised condition, we’re now facing some of the trials Jesus warned us about as we approach what the Scriptures refer to as “the end of the age” (Matthew 24:3).
In this hour, we don’t need inspiration and cute stories. We need a survival guide—which is exactly what this study is designed to be.
The point is this: how are you going to adjust your life for recovery and resilience? You can’t just slog on, burning everything you have to sustain what you think you ought to be doing. A time like ours requires real cunning. So don’t let your weariness drag you right off the mountain. Make the decision to change your daily routines to develop a resilient soul.
Explore Session 1 from the Resilient Bible Study Guide
Welcome to session 1 of Resilient. This first session includes material from the Introduction, “No Ordinary Moment,” and chapter 1, “I Just Want Life to Be Good Again,” of the book. If there are new members in your group, take a moment to introduce yourselves to one another before watching the video. We suggest you simply share your name, some brief details about your life, and why you decided to join this study. Now, let’s get started!
Invite someone to read aloud the following passage. Listen for fresh insight and share any new thoughts with the group through the questions that follow.
- Story is the way we orient ourselves in the world. What story are you telling yourself—is it a political, social justice, economic, or some other narrative? Share the story that’s seemed most real to you lately.
- As Ephesians 1:20–23 reminds us, the story of God is still the story of the world. Is that hard for you to believe . . . or hang onto in chaotic times? Explain.
- Does your current emotional state reflect your confidence that Jesus is absolute Lord of everything on earth, galaxies to governments? That his church is center stage, not the world? That Christ gets the final word? If not, why not?
A summary of the key points is provided for your benefit as well as space to take additional notes.Summary
In this five-part series, we’re going to discover essential skills for your survival in these turbulent times. Resilient is your guide for emerging from global trauma with your faith and your soul stronger than ever.
Toward the end of his days on earth, Jesus began to give his disciples clear instructions for living through extremely hard times, knowing they would record those instructions for future generations—including you, dear ones. He assured us in no uncertain terms that this story would sweep toward a climax and that those days would be especially hard on the human soul. He urged us to ask for the strength that prevails:
Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough
to escape . . . and stand before the Son of Man.
- LUKE 21:36 NLT
Strong enough to escape—that’s who and what we want to be. Strong enough to be the survivors, the triumphant ones. To make it through the storm.
This is no ordinary strength Jesus is offering. This isn’t optimism. This isn’t simply feeling refreshed for a new day. Hard times require something more than willpower. Jesus warns us, urges us, practically commands us, to ask for strength. The Greek word used here is katischuó, and it means
to be strong to another’s detriment;
to prevail against;
to be superior in strength;
Yet in these unprecedented times, we find ourselves continually having to “rally” to one crisis after the next—pandemics, financial challenges, wars and rumors of wars, job losses, and constant fear and grief. As we do, we are tapping deep into our soul’s reserves. At some point, we must replenish those reserves, or we will burn out. But how do we choose real restoration over momentary relief when we can barely make it through the day?
Take a few minutes to go through the following questions with your group.
1. What stood out most from the opening adventure story of Wilfred Thesiger’s impossible trek through the desert? Why?
2. The past several years have been times of severe testing on both global and personal levels. How would you describe your current mental, emotional, and spiritual state as you begin this study?
3. In Luke 21:29–36, Jesus offers an illustration of the fig tree to prepare us for the trials for an hour like this one. What advance council does he give for the strength to escape the madness of these times?
4. The Greek word for strength is katischuó. What three traits are reflected by this word?
5. What does the olive oil represent in the parable of the ten bridesmaids found in Matthew 25:1–10? What can we learn from the foolish bridesmaids about the dangers of running out of the very thing our souls most need?
6. According to 2 Chronicles 16:9, what type of people is God actively searching the earth for . . . and what does he promise to give them? How is this essential for your resilience?
Receiving the Strength That Prevails
We are going to explore a number of “supernatural graces” as we move through this study. It will help your faith to know that your experience of these will be gentle. Though we call them “supernatural” graces, it doesn’t mean they come like an earthquake or lightning strike. God is tender with our weary souls; he doesn’t overwhelm us with his presence.
How do we tap into katischuó, the strength that prevails? It starts with what I like to call being singlehearted. We are singlehearted when we cherish God above all things. We love him in the longing for relief, which is where we are vulnerable. We love him in the longing for life to be good again. Scripture promises that God will come to the help of those who are singlehearted: “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT).
As we turn our hearts toward Jesus or our Father (they are one), we practice loving him. I love you, God. I love you, God. I love you, God. This is not feeling love—the warfare and the weariness will often make us feel rather blank. But we choose to love God anyways. This is the strength that prevails, giving us the first step of courage to stand and be singlehearted.
Over and over again, we practice loving God. I love you, Lord. And we ask him for katischuó his overcoming, prevailing, conquering strength. God offers it, so ask, ask, ask!
If you’re doing this study with a group, ask someone to read this closing prayer aloud. If you are going through this on your own, find a quiet space where you can speak the words aloud.
Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit—God of all creation, God of the
thunderstorm and the waterfall, I need your strength. I need
the strength that prevails. I don’t want to fall away; I don’t
want to lose heart. I choose you above all things. I give you my
allegiance and my undivided love. I choose single-heartedness
toward you, Lord Jesus—body, soul, and spirit; heart, mind,
and will. I pray for a supernatural resilience, God. Fill me
with your overcoming strength, a victorious strength. Father,
Lord of heaven and earth, strengthen me. I pray for strength
of mind, strength of heart, strength of will. I pray for the
strength that allows me to escape all that is coming against the
saints in this hour. Fill me with resilience. By faith I receive it
and thank you for it. In Jesus’ name, amen.
That’s a great beginning. Consider making this prayer something you turn to frequently in the coming week.
Dive into the remaining sessions and pick up a copy of Resilient Study Guide + Streaming from ChurchSource here!
We’d love to hear your thoughts. What did you think of this first session of Resilient: Restoring Your Weary Soul in These Turbulent Times by John Eldredge?