A word from the Provincial of Ghana-Nigeria
Taken from Ghana-Nigeria Link of November 2020
Have you wondered why some people remain calm in the face of crisis, while others fall to pieces?
Some people are able to go through the ups and downs/difficulties of life and are able to bounce back from crisis. Indeed, Covid-19 caused and is still causing (with the new wave) many setbacks to peoples, institutions, organisations, nations, governments, etc., etc. In our Link of May 2020, a lot was written about Covid19.
A week ago, I was asked to give a recollection to our candidates at St. Martin of Tours formation house in Ejisu, and to celebrate the ceremony to receive the first years. I decided to take a reflection on RESILIENCE in times of crisis. That “capacity to adapt to stressful life changes and to bounce back from hardship”. I knew that like any of us, most of our candidates, if not all, experienced difficulties and disappointments. To encourage them, I looked for examples of courageous women and men in the Bible who demonstrated resilience during difficult times. In fact, the Bible contains many quotations on how to overcome hardship, temptation, and to persevere in the face of trials (James 1:12).
It also gives us many examples of women and men who suffered greatly but continued to follow God’s plan for their lives. Notable among them are Job and St. Paul.
After losing everything, Job was in great agony of soul and body, yet he refused to curse the Lord or give up (Job 1:22). He knew that God was in control, and that knowledge helped him maintain resilience instead of giving in to defeat. His faith resulted in resiliency. Paul showed great resilience after his life changing encounter with Jesus (Acts 9). He was transformed from religious Pharisee to radical Christian. He was beaten, stoned, criticised, jailed, and nearly killed many times (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). In Lystra in Asia Minor, he was stoned, dragged out of town, and left for dead, but, when his enemies left, Paul simply got up and went back into the city (Acts 14:1920). Godly resilience enables us to pursue our mission, regardless of our crisis and suffering.
The key to resiliency is faith in the Lord: “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24). St. Paul 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” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). As Christians, we keep bouncing back. We keep moving in faith.
One of the amazing things about resilience is that many of us did not realise how resilient we were until we looked back at difficult times in our lives and saw the simple fact that we made it through, that we learnt something and that we had enough faith to keep going. Marking the end of the Liturgical Year and beginning, the new Season of Advent, I wish you the strength to remain positive, keep the faith and continue moving. Blessed time of Advent!
John Aserbire, M.Afr.