Finding resilience through God’s grace
Resilience is a concept we’re hearing more about these days—whether in relation to the pandemic, to weather events, or to other adverse situations. The Christian Science Monitor, for example, has a series titled “Finding Resilience: Adapting in the face of adversity.”
Accounts of resilience can be encouraging as we learn of people who have gone through great hardship and emerged stronger for it. But what if these stories make us feel that it’s all well and good for others to experience great progress or renewal, but that it’s just not possible for us?
Actually, instances of genuine resilience are evidence of a quality that is innate to all of us as children of God, the divine Mind that is Love itself. Resilience, wherever it is found, is enabled by the grace that flows abundantly from God. This is true resilience, grounded in the spiritual fact that God is our divine Parent, who has bestowed grace and favor upon each of us because each of God’s children is precious in His sight.
Divine grace is a primary quality that enables people to triumph over their greatest fears. This is illustrated in the scriptural story of Jacob.
Years after fleeing for his life because his brother, Esau, felt cheated out of their father’s blessing, Jacob is struggling mightily the night before coming face to face with Esau once again. It is the grace of God that shows Jacob that his true identity is spiritual and that he is the “apple of [God’s] eye” (Deuteronomy 32:9, 10). When the brothers meet, Jacob sees Esau as the very expression of God, too. This recognition brings the thinking and actions of both brothers in line with the true sense of man as God’s creation. One of the most beautiful depictions of grace in human relations follows, in which the brothers extend to each other love and forgiveness. Jacob urges Esau to accept a substantial gift “because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough” (Genesis 33:11).
The Apostle Paul wrote, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (II Corinthians 9:8). God is abundantly and continuously pouring forth the grace of impartial love on all of us as His beloved children. When we recognize that this grace is at hand even in difficult situations, this reveals to us strength we didn’t know was there, divinely impelled strength that enables us to keep going. As we open up to that, we feel its effects in our lives. We feel the divine influence, Christ, propelling us forward, bringing forth our innate grace-imbued qualities that include strength, clarity, hope, trust, ingenuity, and love. It’s this grace of God that enables our lives, homes, relationships, communities—whatever we need—to be restored or rebuilt.
True resilience is grounded in the spiritual fact that God is our divine Parent, who has bestowed grace and favor upon each of us.
I knew someone who found such resilience after experiencing terrible abuse as a child at the hands of one who should have been her protector. She grew up and developed a strong work ethic and a fierce desire to fight for and protect the innocent. What really touched me was that she was able to forgive and sincerely love the person who had abused her (and who has since passed on). She attributes this to meeting someone whose faith in God and God’s goodness was “contagious,” as she described it. This helped her gain a sense of man’s innate holiness and integrity. She was able to see through those years of pain and suffering and refuse to be deprived of her natural joy and her love of the good in humanity. People who know her today comment on her warmth and, above all, compassion.
The foremost example of grace expressed is Christ Jesus, who the Bible says was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Mary Baker Eddy, in the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, defines Jesus in part as “the highest human corporeal concept of the divine idea” (p. 589). He continually brought about manifestations of resilience—stilling storms, feeding multitudes with just a few loaves and fish, healing diseases deemed incurable, and ultimately triumphing over his own crucifixion and death. All of this was evidenced because he so fully expressed the Christ, “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (Science and Health, p. 332). And Christ, Truth, naturally comes to each of us with tender grace and shows us that we can experience and witness profound healing as we follow Jesus’ example.
So when we see instances of resilience in the media and experience it in our lives, let us see this as tangible evidence of God’s grace in action. We each have the grace to go forward through our divine Father-Mother’s love for us.
Mimi Oka, Guest Editorial Writer