Bewildered by what appears the incredible speed of time in general, I felt stunned in realizing the arrival of yet another month’s One Word Update. Continuing with a meditative approach to a deeper understanding of my bold friend, Resilience, found me pondering the transfiguration of Resilience through two particular quotes.
The lessons so far, speak deeply into my life. I created a special page on my blog where all my Resilience posts live, please take the time to read past posts for more insight into my journey.
Intending simply to note the two quotes I found by Eric Greitens and Howard Thurman, they proved more profound than at first glance. Returning to them often revealed insights both confirming and augmenting previous discoveries for my One Word.
the transfiguration of identity
Last month’s lesson on Resilience from a physics standpoint, emphasized the property inherent with a physical material’s Resilience reflected a stronger, better material than before the stress.
In keeping with this discovery, the Apostle Paul speaks of a similar occurance in our spiritual lives in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, which we explored last month.
Yet the following quote by Eric Greitens invited me into another dimension of Resilience. His words convey more an experience related to the transfiguration of Resilience.
Life’s reality is that we cannot bounce back. We cannot bounce back because we cannot go back in time to the people we used to be. The parent who loses a child never bounces back. The nineteen-year-old who sails for war is gone forever, even if he returns. You know that there is no bouncing back. There is only moving through…What happens to us becomes a part of us. Resilient people do not bounce back from hard experiences; they find healthy ways to integrate them into their lives.Eric Greitens
Just as a physical material becomes stronger as a result of the stress put upon it, so we become stronger through the trials God allows in our lives. But it goes deeper than merely becoming stronger and better equipped to handle hardship.
While we cannot choose the hardships we experience, when we submit to God’s sovereign hand in them, we emerge not only stronger, but transfigured more into the image of Christ.
Looking back, the truth of Greitens’ quote meets me in the reality of increased compassion, softer edges, and a keener sense of my own brokeness. Along with less fear of uncertainty and suffering, the fruit of divine trials produced Resilience.
Resilience reflects the ability of merging our past selves with the present hard reality, forging a transformed identity with a new future by the redemptive power of God.
the transfiguration of darkness
The second quote by Howard Thurman invited me into an alternate view of the darkness which often accompanies journeys on the hard paths. Many times, feeling paralyzed by the darkness, I despaired of even finding God on those treacherous paths.
Yet Thurman stunned me with the following:
[Resilience] is to watch a gathering darkness until all light is swallowed up completely without the power to interfere or bring a halt. Then in that darkness, to continue one’s journey with one’s footsteps guided by the illumination of remembered radiance.Howard Thurman
Thurman speaks of a fearless welcome of the darkness; as if instead of paralyzing our steps, it actually remained powerless in thwarting our forward progress. Two thoughts held me transfixed within this quote.
One thought, anchored in 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” and the Gospel of John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Reminds me God is the remembered radiance which guides me through the darkness along the hard paths. God’s promised Presence never forsakes us even in the darkest times, but instead becomes the Light leading us through.
Secondly, no matter how suffocating the darkness feels to me, it is as Light to God. During a recent time of troubled darkness, God spoke the truth of this to me in Psalm 139:12, the psalmist speaking of God: “even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”
The fearless welcoming of the coming darkness of death, illness, sin, brokenness, and suffering, spoken of by Thurman, rests in the fact that darkness holds no power over the Christian.
As His beloved child, the forces and weapons of evil find only defeat in my life, and they stand powerless in every attempt at apprehending me as their own.
The transfiguration of Resilience demonstrates the remembered radiance of His Light abides vibrant, strong and unrestrained. In fact, like the stars, the Light shines most brilliant buried in the deepest, darkest night.
the transfiguration of resilience
This month found my bold word friend speaking deeply to the wounded places within, to the woman ashamed of the scars reminding her of failure, heartache, and loss. Speaking the language of Resilience, which is not only strength, but Hope.
The transfiguration power of Resilience breathes Hope into brokeness with the reminder; scars form a bond between the past and present, forging the beauty of a promised future.
Resilience promises no matter how dark my path grows, The radiance of God in Christ Jesus, illumines every step as I rest firmly in the grasp of a transcendant God.