The Message of Strength and Resilience Amid Tragedy Continues
We held on to faith as we faced a global pandemic, unstable economy, and social distancing.
Then, another tragedy. A brutal murder was broadcast over social media and the news.
What happened over Memorial Day weekend left our nation in shock and socially divided. My eighty-five-year-old mother was horrified. I was disheartened without watching the replay–the pictures were graphic enough.
Riots and hate marked our history. People continue to grieve.
So, how do we respond?
It brought me back to the festival shooting in Las Vegas some years back. As I reread the post, I thought, Nothing has changed, it’s just spread.
Yes, the violence continues, but God has not changed, and for that reason, our response has not changed.
What follows will seem like it happened yesterday, it happened almost two years ago. But the message is relevant today.
This community rose above human cruelty–and we, my friends, can do it again.
October 1, 2017, Las Vegas Shooting
Vince and I woke up to the pings of my iPad and my husband’s iPhone. We usually ignore the early birds, but today, it was different. We felt compelled to check the notifications and then realized friends were contacting us after hearing about the massive shooting in Las Vegas. We immediately turned on the TV to watch the aftermath of a nightmare.
You sit in shock while you process the unimaginable. Suddenly, you become angry with the senseless act of violence. Then, you demand action because you fear the future.
Our city, however, chose to respond to the needs at hand rather than surrender to an array of evolving emotions. Ironically, Las Vegas nicknamed “Sin City” was caring and resilient. As a Christian, I wondered, how do we lead with strength during trials and tragedy. How do we develop resilience?
Replenish Your Faith
We replenish our strength; we replenish our faith.
You and I live a better story when we begin our day with God, but good intentions are often interrupted by schedules. Although I love spending time with God in the morning, I would argue that frequency is better than quality time. Yes, frequency over quality time.
As we wait for the perfect moment to have “quality time” with God, days become weeks until spiritual depletion leaves us stressed, irritable, and angry. When a crisis hits, we react instead of respond.
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing;
in everything give thanks;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
What if we carved out smaller but more frequent increments of time with God. What if we spent five or ten minutes every few hours talking and praying as we go throughout our day? When we invite God into our daily activities and thread our prayers and conversations seamlessly into every situation, we develop resilience because our soul is satisfied and filled.
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Find Your Life Buddies
Jesus loves his church. We are not a building, but a diverse group of imperfect people that love a perfect God. We need each other, and Jesus set the example. He had his life buddies that became interns for The Great Commission. Jesus ate, laughed, and cried with them. They were his beloved friends.
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 NASB
Although we have an intimate relationship with Jesus, we still need fellowship with each other. Don’t wait until tragedy brings you together. We need people that will eat, laugh, and cry with us.
The day after the shooting our church came together for a citywide gathering. Since many people visit Las Vegas from various states and countries many suffered loss. We need each other to develop resilience.
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Embrace Life’s Incremental Lessons
We often overlook the hidden lessons from trials. They can prepare us for the unexpected. When tragedy casts its shadow, resilience draws from those incremental lessons–the valuable truths we’ve learned from difficulties. Resilience recognizes the magnitude of a tragic situation, but resilience always leans toward hope.
…Tribulation brings about perseverance;
and perseverance, proven character;
and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint
Romans 5:3-5 NASB
When we replenish our faith, remain connected with believers, and allow God to transform our hearts during trials, we can choose to hope. We may not have all the answers, but resilience helps us heal.
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Choose to Develop Resilience
The solution to current problems is still the same; we need Jesus. The world needs Jesus. At the core of every problem is a heart that desperately needs our Savior’s love, healing, and comfort.
In the meantime,
- We choose not to hate.
- We choose to respond with faith and not react with fear.
- We choose to anchor our lives in God’s truth.
- We choose to be vulnerable.
- We choose to heal.
We permit ourselves to be a resilient child of God. From the ashes of pain, God will make something beautiful. Together we become God’s resilient bride waiting for His return.
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** This blog post is dedicated in memory of the victims, the injured individuals, their families, and communities that have absorbed unnecessary brutality. You are not alone. **