[25/10/2020]

The Footsteps Of Resilience – Ps Bruce Claridge

Episode Notes

Psalm 103:17-18 (NLT)

But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children 18 of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!

How awesome were our Youth in their take over last week? Love our future!

As a kid I was always intrigued that my footprints, especially evident when at swimming pools, were different to everyone else’s! I had flat feet (undeveloped arches).

Just as my imprints were different, so the footprints you leave in life will also be different to everyone else’s.

Your imprint on the world will be your legacy.

Your example will guide others and your words will be heard long after you are able to speak them.

Our footsteps are there for others to follow and they have often been formed through tough challenges, success, poverty or hard work.

I remember my Dad’s stories about growing up in Nhill and other country places and going barefoot to school! They often ate bread and dripping as a meal. It often made my childish complaints look pretty feeble.

In my life, my dad left footprints of diligence, hard work and resilience in the face of adversity and with the support of a very simple faith he faced many life challenges.

This word, resilience, is becoming a buzz word in business and sport.

The other week I had the privilege of zooming in on SCUK’s Global Conference where I heard the following:

Dr. Allan Johnston, Sports Psychologist and adviser to Soccer’s English Premier League Managers says there are 5 keys to resilience in athletes. This resilience is defined as “the ability of a person to return to their normal form under pressure” or “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, threats, tragedy or even significant causes of stress”.

The keys to this are:

  1. A positive personality (glass half full outlook)
  2. Motivation
  3. Self-confidence – in athletes sometimes seen as arrogance. Remember Muhammed Ali when he said he could “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”, and also “I am the greatest”
  4. Focus – single mindedness – “eyes on the prize”
  5. Perceived social support network – this one was highlighted in our SCA Conference.

It doesn’t take a theologian to see that each of these keys reflects Christian life principles.

  1. Faith in God whose promises we live by gives positivity (29:11).
  2. Motivation – the compelling desire to make a difference for the Kingdom of God’s sake. Let’s be known for this.
  3. A God Confidence – A confidence that comes from knowing whose we are producing a meekness or controlled strength humbly confident in God.
  4. A focus on eternal purposes while living on earth. Not distracted from our calling. A singlemindedness about Kingdom priorities.
  5. Christian Community – the local Church is our support base. It has our back! It is our “perceived social support network”, but it’s real! Ask someone in our Church going through tough times. It is real, practical and genuine.

As I look back personally over the last 10 years, I see the value of resilience and applying these principles when our carefully planned journey of faith took unexpected turns never imagined and detours totally unexpected.

A time when scriptures like Romans 8:28 are foundations to hang onto and not just verses to preach from to assure others. To believe “all things are working for good” when dramatic, unexpected ministry changes take place, cancer invades your family, relationship challenges also affect your family and changes due to aging take place.

Yet, this great place I find myself in, now, 10 years later would have never been, stolen by the faith and joy robbing process of self-pity, unforgiveness and disillusionment, if not for embracing those resilience factors.

Now into our resilience discussion comes an 85-year-old man of inspiring resilience. His name is Caleb.

Let’s set the scene:

About 40 years earlier, Moses had sent out 12 spies to see if they could take the promised land God had given them.

Ten came back with reasons why this battle would not be won! They decided to walk by sight and not by faith. Their fear spread like wildfire among the people.

Caleb, along with Moses, were the only ones to declare “We can take this land” when the other ten spies said it was too hard to take Canaan. At that time God said of Caleb “Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. (Numbers 14:24).

Caleb must have been frustrated by his fellow spies and disappointed about the delay of 40 years, but he didn’t show it. He, instead, endured those decades in the desert by trusting the promise that he would eventually get to enter the land. He could have said “My best years are behind me, it’s all over”. He could have listened to the whinging about leeks and garlics in Egypt from his fellow Israelites and justifiably joined in, but he was resilient!

Now let’s read how he puts this resilient faith into action as an 85-year-old.

Joshua 14:6-14 (NLT)

A delegation from the tribe of Judah, led by Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, came to Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb said to Joshua, “Remember what the Lord said to Moses, the man of God, about you and me when we were at Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. So that day Moses solemnly promised me, ‘The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your grant of land and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.’

10 “Now, as you can see, the Lord has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. 11 I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. 12 So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.”

13 So Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave Hebron to him as his portion of land. 14 Hebron still belongs to the descendants of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite because he wholeheartedly followed the Lord, the God of Israel.

During the time in the wilderness, Caleb showed resilience to push forward on a journey that, if his mates had trusted God more, he would not be on.

Let’s face it, it was “an unnecessary 40-year life detour through a wilderness!”

He had a different spirit.

So, have you! You have the potential to be a Caleb, whether you are 20, 40 or 85+.

From our 5 keys to resilience, Caleb can be seen to be exhibiting them on his life journey.

  1. He maintained his faith; he kept a positive outlook by trusting God would come through. He knew God was a promise keeper.
  2. He remained motivated to complete the journey that they set out on 40 years earlier. He didn’t see the wilderness sand, nor hear the whinging of his fellow Israelites, but still was motivated to stay fit, maintain his army strength, always ready.
  3. Caleb knew who he was in God’s eyes and walked confident in the fact that God would fulfil His promise. His “God confidence” brought him self-confidence and inspired others.
  4. His focus was always upon receiving his inheritance of the land promised to him. The hill country of Hebron was his and he was prepared to firstly wait for it and then fight for it 40 years later!
  5. Caleb fought side by side with his fellow tribesmen of Judah, his resilience was supported by those who were prepared to go into battle with him. It was a team effort. He was prepared to fight for his family.

What does that say to us today about being a resilient person?

  1. Be the person with a positive outlook, the one who reminds others that God will come through. The one who says despite the pain of now, God is with us. Despite the apparent disappointments God has got this!

The positive voice above a noise of negativity.

  1. Be the one who maintains motivation for the cause by not seeing the wilderness as a waste of time, but a time of strengthening one’s self in God and not listening to the whingers and complainers who sap us of motivation for the “seek first the Kingdom” journey.

Joy robbers are motivation robbers, they rob you of the thing that gives you strength, the joy of the Lord is your strength! Motivation is powerfully impacted by who you “hang out with”.

  1. Know your identity in God through Christ. Caleb certainly knew whose he was. Be confident in whose you are and thus who you are.
  2. Stay focused on the prize Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT), press on, don’t be distracted by trivia or life’s challenges in their many and varied deceptive and at times very painful forms.
  3. Be part of a team that you can work and celebrate with. That is why I passionately fight for the local Church. With all our faults, we are still “the hope of the world”. The Church is your God given social support.

We are a resilient Church, confident in Jesus. We have learned what it means to be a positive Church.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. What promises do you need to revisit?

Jan and I were visited by a friend we hadn’t seen for years who showed us a dedication promise I had spoken over her children over 35 years earlier. She showed Jan and I this crumbled, but much protected, yellow piece of paper with the prophetic Word, typed neatly, that was given to each of her children whose lives had seen many tragedies since that time. Now God was coming through on those promises.

  1. Does the great commission still motivate you?
  2. Are you confident today in who you are in Christ?
  3. Are you still focused on “pressing towards the prize”?
  4. Are you still team focused, do you love the local Church?
  5. In short, how is your resilience?