Living in tumultous times
I was reading a post from psychologytoday.com on hardships in life titled ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker.’
In it, the author points out that people flourish despite the hardships they go through, not because they go through the hardships.
The reason, the author claims, that people accept Nietzsche’s famous axiom is because it’s a convenient way to ease the trauma of suffering and, because we find the axiom self-affirming; we think it’s true therefore the evidence confirms its truth.
While the author notes that the axiom is true in an evolutionary sense, he makes the point that it’s not the event that made the object able to survive calamity; it already had the resilience.
The author concludes the blog by stating that:
“Mayhem and chaos don't toughen you up, and they don't prepare you well to deal with the terror of this world. Tender love and care toughen you up, because they nurture and strengthen your capacity to learn and adapt, including learning how to fight, and adapting to later hardship.”
In other words, our ability to cope with calamity comes from being deeply rooted in love and care.
As Christians, we need to root ourselves in the love and care of God. The Psalmist puts it this way in Psalm 131:2
“But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”
It is a beautiful image of a believer - a weaned child, simply content to rest in their mother’s arms. The child is not concerned about what else is happening, nor afraid of anything because their mother provides everything.
Do I trust God as much as a weaned infant trusts their mother? Jesus famously said in Mark 10:14b-15
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
I need to continually remind myself of the love God the Father has lavished upon us in Christ Jesus; so much so that I am called a child of God (1 John 3:1) and, nothing can separate me from this love (Romans 8:38-39).
When I remember that, I find that I can live in tumultuous times, that I can survive hardships, because I am like a weaned child with its mother; I am toughened up by the Father’s tender love and care.