I watched as a storm blew in and threatened the long-legged petunias and sweet potato vines I had planted in a hanging basket on my balcony. I wondered if I should bring the plants in, and I felt the Lord impress the following on my heart: “I have designed them to weather storms. They do not think they have done something wrong because there is another storm to weather.” I left the basket where it was and I watched the delicate purple petals sway and bob against the unkind wind, caught, as they were, between extremes of cold and hot. They were not being punished because there was a storm; they were being used by God as an example of how to weather a storm with grace and dignity. As I waited inside and watched, I believe the Lord continued, “I have made them resilient from the beginning.” So, I looked up the word and understood He was indicating that He designed people to be that way, too.
Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines resiliency as the “act of leaping or springing back, or the act of rebounding,” and defines rebounding as “start[ing] back, to be reverberated by an elastic power resisting force or impulse impressed…the act of flying back in resistance of the impulse of another body.” Noah further explains that “bodies absolutely hard, or so soft as to be void of elasticity, will not rebound.”
We need the power of God to remain “elastic,”
to not be impressed by enemy forces,
to spring back again after every single attack.
The Bible is all about people rebounding, about the Word and power of Christ making them resilient to enemy attacks. Storms cannot stop a believer’s progress in the faith. Through the work of Christ, death cannot hold believers down. And if death cannot keep us down, no attack or occurrence during our life on earth can either.
You are not finished.
God has created our bodies to heal, and to heal as many times as is necessary to sustain our life and our divine purpose until the Lord calls us Home in the last time. One thing all people have in common is that we do not enter the afterlife without a death of this life. None of us knows the day or the mode that will be, but we can prepare for what comes after by accepting Christ now. Moreover, after every attack, we can ask the Father, in Jesus’ Name, to help us back up. We can “fly back” to God in resistance of the enemy.
The physical body is designed by God to be resilient. Through a cut in the skin—we can watch how God designed our bodies to heal (though we may not understand why the injury had to occur, or exactly how the body is performing the act of healing). The same process occurs with our minds. The enemy wants us to think we are traumatized—or slipping as we get older, but actually God has designed our minds to heal, as many times as is necessary, and to focus on His love over all the threats and distractions of the world. We are to look up at God for renewal, not down in worry. We are to be Mary at Jesus’ feet, rather than Martha—too busy, throwing distractions between herself and her Lord as a mode of self-medicating (Luke 10:40-42). It is okay, and healthy, to go through the pain of healing and learning again and again—as many times as is necessary. God plays our emotions like a violin and teaches us life lessons this way. It is a process…
And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it (Colossians 3:10, AMPC).
This process has an eternal reward:
If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth (Colossians 3:1-2, AMPC).
Setting your mind, making biblical decisions (such as to rebound spiritually after an enemy attack), is a lifelong endeavor. Christ endured the pain and shame of the cross for the joy that was set before Him—you and I with Him in eternity, seated beside Him at the right hand of the Father, for nothing we had done, but what He did for us (Hebrews 12:2, AMPC). Our response is to endure our trials with this same reunion in mind (James 1).
The enemy also wants us to think our broken heart has rendered us ineffective for God’s service. However, Christ came specifically to heal the broken hearted (Isaiah 61:1-3) and make you a new heart responsive to His touch (Ezekiel 11:19). There is no break that God did not witness and allow for His good reasons, and our ultimate betterment.
Ahead of time, Christ was prepared to heal your heart:
And there was handed to Him [the roll of] the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened (unrolled) the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity], To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound]” (Luke 4:17-19, AMPC).
Christ heals our bodies, our minds, and our hearts. He heals our souls. God has designed us from the beginning to be more resilient than a lone flower in an open field, or a petunia in a storm. We are planted where we are for His purposes. That one flower might sustain the life of one migrating butterfly—and one is worth it. That petunia on my balcony might encourage someone to focus on God’s love over the fear of physical ailment.
Paul states, “For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory” (Colossians 3:3-4, AMPC). I pray we all come to see and expect this glory, to receive it by faith, and move toward it every day.
Oftentimes, God will move heaven and earth, and allow Job-like trials, to position us into His ministry, but then we wait, hidden. Dead to the world, hidden in God. We must respect that God knows exactly what He is doing and how He is using us today. We are most content with this process; we stay humble, and we stay ready.
After I had this beautiful revelation from God, I was attacked by a sudden bout of illness. A recurring issue that I have not overcome. It has been many years, and I wait on God to heal me completely. Thus far, He has given me times of relief, but not entirely removed it. I cried, I was confused, I was alone and terror stricken just after I had a moment of great peace and beauty with God. The negative “impression” is to give up. But that would be too soft— no elasticity, no bounce back. Conversely, I could get angry, refuse to do anything further for God until I am healed, but that would be too hard—no rebound. No, God, like that flower on my balcony, wants us to weather these types of storms, but not fall apart. Jesus kept peace in the boat, during the storm, though the disciples were convinced by fear that they were dying (Mark 4:38). I do not have all of the answers to long-term illnesses, but I do know that yes, Jesus cares. Many Godly believers suffer with things God has allowed to go on.
Paul himself explains his experience with a mystery illness:
And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.
Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength) (2 Corinthians 12:8-10, AMPC).
The enemy did his best to impress doubt along with fear, “Would a loving God allow this to happen?” My answer was yes, a loving God would allow this to happen. But I believe it is for His good purposes in the end. Romans 8:28 is my confirmation.
We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose (AMPC).
I came through the incident, so have the flowers on my balcony. I have many unanswered questions about this condition and I can feel quite helpless in the battle, but I know that God blessed Job in the end (James 5:11, AMPC) and He will also bless us in the end. Moreover, He will not forsake us now—He is in the boat, in the storm with us! He has designed us ahead of time—like a delicate, strong flower that defies reason—to survive and live well here.
No matter how hard storms are to understand and predict or prevent, like that tiny, delicate, super strong and resilient flower, I do not think I have done something wrong because I had another storm to weather. Nor have you. On the contrary, I think, like Paul and his thorn, the storms often come because we hold God’s beauty and purpose in our hearts, in our minds, in our bodies, and the enemy may try but he cannot stop the movement of God on this earth.
I look above, at heavenly things, because one day we will have no more questions, no more fears, no more tears, no more illnesses, sufferings, or death. There will come a day when we have Christ fully. Until that time, we continue to be resilient and “fly back” to God, just like my little flower has bounced back and is still beautiful. The storm has passed.
I pray this comforts all Christians enduring physical issues. You are not alone. God is loving. And God will heal you. My word to you today is “Pray, continue.” Look up. Spring back. Rise again. Do not fear for God is with you. He has designed you to be resilient from the beginning.
God bless you.
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible (AMPC), Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. lockman.org
Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language: (https://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/resilience; https://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/rebound).