Resiliency is essentially the ability to endure strain, stress, and pressure and then recover to some original form of normalcy and familiarity. Resiliency can be physical, mental, relational, or spiritual. Spiritual resiliency is the most powerful and enduring and sustains us in significant ways.
First Kings Chapters 18 and 19 tell a remarkable story about the Prophet Elijah’s dynamic ministry. Elijah confronts the wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel who desire to kill him calling him the “troubler of Israel” (18:17). On Mount Carmel, Elijah calls out to His Redeemer God to reveal himself to the people of Israel and King Ahab’s 450 false prophets of Baal. The false prophets call out to Baal to receive their sacrificial offering … to no avail.
Then Elijah says, “Hear me O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again” (18:37, NKJV). Then God sent fire from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, rocks, and the water in the trench. Elijah had the false prophets seized and executed. Not exactly your typical Sunday at church!
But when Jezebel heard what had happened, she sent word that she intended to kill him. Elijah responded by praying, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (19:4). God gave Elijah a place to rest and miraculously fed him, also providing water and a safe place to sleep. The Angel of the Lord summed up Elijah’s need for rest: “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you” (I Kings 19:7, NKJV).
Prevailing thought in our culture says that if we work hard enough using our own strengths and abilities we can succeed from one victory to the next, personally and professionally. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that you are strong and capable enough on your own. You do not need to rest, slow down, or stop. Time and again, however, we see this simply isn’t the case. Follow this approach long enough and you are in danger of suffering a meltdown.
We can accomplish great and extraordinary things when we rely on God as our Redeemer. Certainly, human efforts play an important role. Over time, though, leaders burn out and fade away when they do not rest in between their victories. We cannot redeem ourselves. God did not build us that way. Instead, it is by faith that we are renewed—when we trust in Christ and learn to rest and take comfort in the peace and knowledge of God. Great leaders are spiritually resilient because they create time and space in their lives to experience the redeeming rest and renewal of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
The content of this article comes from “The Warrior’s Bible” (2014) and is copyrighted by Life Publishers International. Used with permission.