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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

An Example of Resilient Faith

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

(Genesis 50:20 NKJV)

Among the not very comforting news and the hyper-connectivity situation in which we found ourselves catapulted to live our spirituality during the pandemic, there is a growing number of phenomena of strong psycho-physical stress. We found ourselves facing something new for which we were not in the least prepared. A bit like Joseph who, having gone in search of his brothers to pasture, found himself first thrown into a well and then onto a caravan of merchants headed for Egypt (Genesis 37). We all remember his departure as a servant in Potiphar's house and the specter of imprisonment that he was forced to endure, but in all the apparently hostile circumstances, God was on his side. The ambitious dreamer stands out as an example of resilient faith.

In psychology, resilience represents the ability of an individual to face a trauma or a difficult period and to overcome it. More generally, resilience represents the ability to bend without breaking, showing a positive behavioral adaptation in having to face significant adversity. From the Latin word "resilire", which means "to bounce", the term defines the property of some materials, such as metals, to absorb a shock without breaking, returning to its original shape. In fact, resilience refers to flexibility and the use of resources that can react to adverse circumstances with mental and emotional strength. Joseph has the ability to react in any difficulty, or at least not to be overwhelmed, without ever raising the white flag. A beautiful example of resilient faith, capable of making even the most dramatic situations fruitful. Joseph has that wisdom that does not allow itself to be paralyzed by adverse situations and opens up new paths, fruit of the passion for the dream of God that accompanies his days. He, who knows that the wisdom required by Solomon was not really the ability to strive, juggling a thousand dangers, facing difficulties and always coming out strengthened.

In the current situation we are experiencing a unique condition and we know that things will not go back to the way they used to, at least not in the short term. As a result, all of us today must be flexible to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances, tolerating some degree of uncertainty. Resilience dares to propose to take advantage of defeats, to experience wounds as loopholes, openings to new horizons. Like the pearl, produced by a lesion of the oyster. A pearl, in fact, is the result of an irritative process: following the entry of a foreign body into it, the mollusk incorporates it, covering it to form a pearl. Without the wound, the pearl could not have been created. In the same way, not everything that strikes us causes damage, rather it is up to us to have the ability to dress it and transform it into a pearl. A grain of sand or other material made it shiny and attractive. Many may appreciate the result, but only you will know what and how much it cost you.

Under resilience, that love must necessarily burn, stronger than any bitterness, capable of canceling, or at least overcoming the pain suffered. It was love that, despite the evil suffered, allowed Joseph to be able to declare to the same brothers, who had sold him, to be there and to have experienced all the misadventures for a divine purpose: "But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7). Everything that had happened to him had certainly marked his life, but no rancor had matured in his heart, despite the many deaths, but patience, hope and resilience. At the end of the story, the dreamer will learn to wait for God's times and to respect his ways. Only a God-fearing heart full of love for loved ones will be able, despite the position reached, to declare to those who had plotted its death: "And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you” (Genesis 45:5). It always remains a matter of time.

I hope that this brief reflection can also stimulate us to be consistent with our professed faith, to make us able to understand when it comes to a stressful situation and to use the resources at our disposal to move in the direction of health and safety. Cunning and modesty are needed, an endowment suggested by Jesus (Matthew 10:16) and which is often lacking in believers, "For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light" (Luke 16:8).

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 19

May 03, 1 Kings 14-15; Luke 22:31-46

May 04, 1 Kings 16-18; Luke 22:47-71

May 05, 1 Kings 19-20; Luke 23:1-25

May 06, 1 Kings 21-22; Luke 23:26-56

May 07, 2 Kings 1-3; Luke 24:1-35

May 08, 2 Kings 4-6; Luke 24:36-53

May 09, 2 Kings 7-9; John 1:1-28


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