It’s become a buzz-word in the NHS.  People who have it do better in life than those who don’t.  So what is it – this ‘resilience’?    In physical objects it means having the ability to spring back into shape;  and in people ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.’  But it’s more than that.

We learn resilience through experience, in the way that toddlers learn to get up again when they fall down.  When life is trying to flatten us and the going is tough, it helps to remember the times that we coped; how we got up again.  But now and again we’re so thrown off balance we wonder if we’ll ever be able to bounce back again.

Many studies and many books have been written about resilience, and they’re helpful to a point … but don’t go deep enough.  Because there are powerful words in the Scriptures, that speak to your spirit to lift you up, to steady you, to see you through.  I’ve seen this with an elderly lady with dementia. She’d reached the stage where she could hardly speak,  but her face was aglow as she listened to a visitor saying,  Trust in the Lord with all your heart,  and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.‘  (Proverbs 3: 5-6)  

A preacher and author has said that the key to resilience is applying Romans 8:28. ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.’  In all things.  

Some of the least ‘tough’ people I know, those older, gentle, quietly-spoken types have tremendous resilience.  It’s not tactics, it’s not techniques, it’s not following different customs – it’s trusting God and leaning into His promises.

Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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