Today’s reading: John 14:15-31
Resilient – tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change (Mirriam Webster).
Last month I signed up to attend a six week group coaching session on resiliency. Each session is focused on strategies we can use to increase our capacity and/or help our teams increase their capacity to recover from difficulties. One of the first things we learned was that emotional regulation is important for resiliency. While we can’t change and/or run from everything that bothers us, we are more resilient when we are aware of situations that trigger unwanted emotions in us and then employ strategies for regulating them. For example, recognizing emotions earlier, finding productive ways to let them out, and reframing emotions are all strategies that can help.
As I read John 14 this week, I saw Jesus use some of these same strategies to encourage, or promote resiliency, in his disciples. Earlier in the chapter (John 14:3), Jesus reminded his disciples that he was going away. These men, who had given up EVERYTHING to follow Jesus were beside themselves. To say their emotions were getting the best of them is probably an understatement. First, Jesus encouraged his disciples to talk about their angst – let their emotions out.
- Thomas jumped in first and told Jesus they couldn’t follow him because they didn’t know the way to where he was going. Jesus responded by telling Thomas He was the way, the truth and the life. Knowing him was all they needed.
- Philip followed up by telling Jesus that if he would just let them see God, that would be enough the give them confidence/calm their fears/make them resilient. Jesus responded by telling Philip he had already seen God – “Whoever has seen me has seen the father”.
In verse 15, Jesus started to reframe their emotions. The disciples wanted Jesus to stay, but he turned the conversation around to help them understand why it was better for them if he went away. Why?
Because he was sending the Holy Spirit, who would not just be by their side, but actually live inside them…
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you (John 14:16-17).
How resilient are you? If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in your heart. Are you taking advantage of that? Are you letting him help you? He will lead you toward resiliency if you ask.