Resiliency Starts Small

By Rev. Cindy Marino

Grace UMC is still here. Our people are still giving, worshiping, meeting safely with one another, praying, studying, serving. That’s because God designed the church to be resilient.

Over the millennia, the church has been hit with one disaster after another – war, persecution, natural disasters – but yet, still it remains. And more than that, it flourishes; it thrives.  Like a willow tree, planted by a flowing stream, it soaks up the water and bends with the wind without breaking. 

In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, the apostle Paul is speaking to the persecuted church in Corinth. He writes, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” 

That’s resiliency.

I’ve been trying to dissect that characteristic of resiliency. How did Paul maintain it? How and why do some emerge from disaster ready to take on the world while some simply crumble in its wake? Where in your life have you "bent" and where have you ‘broken.” What was the difference? 

I’ve noticed that many times, resiliency develops from small beginnings. Something as simple as a chance conversation with a neighbor can lead to the sharing of a concern which leads to an encouraging word or act of kindness, which leads to renewed trust in others and a new confidence in how that person is able to engage the world.  

One small outdoor worship service in our field at Grace was an emotional reminder for us of all that we miss by being together in person, but it also built confidence that being together is still possible and fruitful. One phone call from one of Grace Prayer team members to a person in need led their family member to realize that a lifetime of faithfulness isn’t washed away just because we get old. One small errand, one small letter, one small prayer; each feeds that underground stream from which we draw our strength.

These are the small beginnings of resiliency.

Grace UMC will emerge from these trying times stronger and more focused than ever before. We will have learned what is most important … God’s people and God’s vision. Beginning smaller … through small groups, smaller worship and focused mission, we will have simplified our lives together; and emerge with resilience into a future that is limitless. Praise be to God!

For I know the plans I have for you–this is the LORD’s declaration–plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11