My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing* (James 1:2-4).
The Bible abounds with verses that warn us against trials and hardships. We do not have to look too deeply in our own life and in the lives of others to confirm that we live in a world of pain and injustice. Sometimes we deal with trials that are the result of our own wrongdoing. At times, they come upon us for no apparent reason. Today’s text reminds us that there is a purpose, meaning, or a reason for the misfortunes and adversities in life. According to the apostle James, they serve to teach us patience, and ultimately, they bring us closer to perfection.
Secular studies also try to explain the reason for suffering. Victor Goertzel, researcher and promoter of peace and social justice, and his wife Mildred, a secondary school teacher and professional author, wrote a book entitled Cradles of Eminence. It is a study describing the childhood of hundreds of famous people: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, Nelson Rockefeller, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, William James, Sigmund Freud, Robert Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Hermann Hess, Simone de Beauvoir, Walt Disney, Mother Teresa, Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Streisand, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Gates . . . Sur..prisingly, many of them grew up in troubled environments, hated school and their teachers, had strict, overbearing, and unsuccessful parents. Some of them even suffered from physical defects and disabilities.
Despite all these challenges, they became men and women who inspired respect and admiration and brought great achievements to mankind. The difficulties could have been insurmountable barriers, but these misfortunes were the force that pushed them to unexpected heights. The authors explain that resilience, which is a kind of elasticity or ability to withstand limitations or hardships, was the key to the triumph of these individuals.
But true resilience does not exist without divine intervention. We firmly believe that the Creator placed this ability in every human being, not only to achieve professional and personal success, but also to help us develop our character and to draw us closer to Him.
This month, we will reflect on the theme of resilience, through encouraging Bible texts and the experience of exemplary characters who had to pass through trials and hardships but played a key role in God’s plans.