“I heard the roar.” “I lost everything.” “I should be dead.” I hear such words when serving as a chaplain in natural disaster zones around the country. I am amazed at the resilience of survivors.

After the initial shock, responses can vary from despair to anger. Despair, if someone assesses a crisis as random, chaotic, and meaningless. Anger, if you thought you had a deal with God to prevent it. But the resilient ones usually have something in common: faith in God to see them through. It’s like they have an internal compass that points to what is known, unchanging, and available. I realize some might dismiss this as an “emotional crutch.” But it is far more than that, and it’s something that can inspire you to increase your own resilience for whatever trauma or crisis you might face.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ opens access to deep meaning in life, especially in a crisis. C.S. Lewis notes that life is a series of troughs and peaks, but it’s the troughs that strengthen your connection to God. “The fullest grace can be received,” he writes, “by those only who continue to obey during the dryness in which all grace seems to be withheld.” Standing in a debris field or the rubble of a home is an acute “dryness,” as well as an opportunity to receive God’s grace, peace, and hope.

If anyone might have expected God’s deliverance from affliction, it was the Apostle Paul. He was not spared, and he connected crisis to deep meaning. Speaking of his hardship as a missionary, “We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength,” he writes, “so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead… He on whom we have set our hope” (2 Cor. 1). God gave Paul more than he could handle. Paul responded by trusting the providence of God and maintaining an eternal perspective. This life is not all there is, nor do afflictions have the final say. Let that inspire your resilience!

Now is the time to prepare for future crises you might face. Your yearning for a crisis-free life is a signpost pointing to the place Jesus prepared for you. You secure your place by receiving His grace by repentance and faith. He is your hope in crisis.  As a believer, take time to reflect on your past crises when God has seen you through. Resolve to leverage any future crises to develop your endurance by faith. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (Jas. 1:2-3).