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I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again



Job 1:21-22

Job, after losing everything he had, exclaimed: “I left my mother’s womb naked, and I will return to God naked. The LORD has given, and the LORD has taken. May the name of the LORD be blessed.” Job neither sinned nor charged God with wrongdoing in all of this.


Today, we will explore the theme of resilience, a virtue that is not only important in our daily lives but also deeply embedded in our spiritual journey. Job can be seen as the poster child for resilience. Job lost all his assets, everything of value: his camels, oxen, donkeys, sheep, servants, and his children.


People ask, why do bad things happen to good people? But the more important question is this: what will we do when bad things happen to us?  Life is a mixed bag. Forrest Gump’s Mama said it this way: Life is like a box of chocolates; You never know what you’re going to get.”


Perseverance and resilience are often used interchangeably, but they are different. We’ve looked at perseverance: it is the virtue of sticking to it no matter how tough things get. It requires determination, persistence, and a willingness to push through the pain and discomfort of difficult situations. Resilience, however, is the ability to recover from adversity and maintain a positive outlook. It requires flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to learn from mistakes and setbacks.


It is like the difference between the marathon runner and the boxer. The marathon runner needs to be able to keep going for hours, even when their body is screaming for them to stop. They need to be able to push through the pain, fatigue, and mental exhaustion to reach the finish line. That is perseverance. 


Resilience is like a boxer, or wrestler, or even a gymnast. They need to be able to recover quickly from mistakes and setbacks. They need to be able to adapt their routine or strategy to the current circumstances and maintain a positive attitude, even when things don’t go according to plan. Both resilience and perseverance are important in life.


In the 80’s there was a band called Chumbawamba. Their most famous song was “Tubthumping.” “I get knocked down, but I get up again; you’re never gonna keep me down. I get knocked down, but I get up again; you’re never gonna keep me down.”  The song is about resilience.


Resilience is the virtue of being able to adapt to stressful life changes and “bouncing back” from hardship. It is getting knocked down but getting up again. Resilience is a response to tragedy, crisis, or other life-altering changes that allows us to move on despite the loss. Showing resilience does not mean that we are unaffected or uncaring about the life change or tragedy. Resilience is the human heart’s ability to suffer greatly and grow from it.


We observe personal resilience every day in people who suffer handicaps, deaths of loved ones, and other losses. When people refuse to give up on themselves and the world, even after misfortune, they are displaying resilience. It involves being strong in the Lord, trusting Him, and finding joy even in difficult times.


Our resilience grows out of trust and faith in God.  In Habakkuk 3:17-18 we read, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” 


Even in times of great hardship and loss, the prophet Habakkuk chose to rejoice in the Lord, demonstrating his resilience and faith. Despite the dismal circumstances he expresses his strong faith in the Lord, as to better times and things that would most assuredly come. That is resilience; it walks hand in hand with Faith.


Faith often brings a sense of hope and optimism, even in difficult times. It can help us believe in the possibility of better days ahead, which can make us more resilient in the face of adversity. Our strong church family can provide emotional support, practical help, and a sense of belonging, all of which can bolster resilience.


Faith can also provide a sense of purpose and meaning in life. This can help us stay motivated and persistent, even when facing challenges. Our faith traditions, such as prayer, meditation, or rituals offer coping mechanisms. These practices can provide comfort, reduce stress, and increase resilience.


Our faith can provide moral guidance and a set of values that can help us navigate difficult decisions and ethical dilemmas. This can contribute to resilience by providing a stable foundation to lean on when times are tough.


The Bible encourages us to press on, overcome hardship and temptation, and persevere in the face of trials. Romans 12:21 tells us:  Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.  In Philippians 3:13-15 Paul shares this: No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.


We are lifted by the power of Christ within us. 2 Corinthians 4:8–9 tells us: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” We get knocked down, but with Christ’s help, we get up again.


Psalms 1:1-3 makes this observation: “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”


The resilient soul thrives and grows like a deeply rooted reed in the currents of challenge and change. When resilient, our spirit unwraps like an amber shaft of wheat, maturing in God’s love and expanding to its fullest potential. The resilient spirit persists like a blade of grass, bending readily in storms of adversity. Our resilient spirit soars high above criticism and self-doubt on wings of new experience, ready to bounce back, finding the blessings and lessons in all experiences.


Spiritual resilience is built into every one of us, because the spirit of a child of God cannot be defeated nor held down. By being constantly aware of this inner buoyancy, we can quickly rise above negative conditions.


To come back to that question at the beginning of my talk: what will we do when bad things happen to us? It is my prayer that we know this truth: we can get back up again from any stumble. Spirit whispers to us, “You will come back from this, stronger and more prepared. With God at your side, fear no challenge and know that you are guided by divine strength and wisdom.” I pray we put our faith in Psalm 118:5, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”


Focus on Christ, not the past or our troubles. We can find joy in every situation and never give up on God. Through our resilience, we give God thanks and praise in the storm and after the storm.


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