David Elsing addressing students from our Secondary campus on the topic of Resilience at our last assembly,
I’ve often been impressed by the stories I hear of great hardship and perseverance. You may not be aware, but the eastern states of Australia have been experiencing a terrible drought for many years.
In June 2013 after reading the plight of Queensland farmers suffering through drought who were destroying their cattle, and some being forced off their land, Charles Alder was more than impressed - he found that he needed to do something about this problem. Coming from a family committed to helping others Charles and wife Tracy decided they needed to find out how best they could help those in this terrible situation.
After making calls to agriculture industry groups and with a lifetime of experience in marketing, they decided to create a fundraising program that explained exactly what Australians could do to help. Their idea was simple: Why not ask Australian’s to “Buy a Bale of Hay“.
Through some business contacts an approach was made to Sunrise, the Channel 7 morning program, to participate in a hay drive.
Since this hay drive in September 2013, the program has delivered over 160,000 bales of hay across 4 states.
In one of the driest countries on the planet, there will always be farmers who need assistance.
Australian farming has always been a story about the hope of the next downpour of rain, the next harvest and the next lambing season. Hope is an eager expectation that things will work out and, perhaps, even get better.
For Christians, our hope is founded on the stunning belief that because Jesus rose from the dead, things will get better – and when Jesus returns he will restore this broken world and bring healing to the suffering and wipe away every tear. The kingdom of heaven is a place without suffering.
In the meantime – we still suffer.
Think about your most recent challenging experience. Perhaps it was a conflict with friends, maybe a fight with mum & dad, family breakdown, perhaps a poor grade on a test, or the fear of having to swim or run in front of the whole school, or being on camp having to sleep in cold tents. How did you cope?
If there is a limit to your strength, God only knows what that limit is. People can be unbelievably tough. It’s even more admirable considering how easily we can be hurt and what that hurt can lead to. When you look at victims of war, you see people who have had their families taken away from them and yet, in face of it all, they still showed great courage. It is absolutely unbelievable. You deserve a lot more credit than you give yourselves, it’s a testament to the human spirit.
When God made humans in his image, he gave us a tremendously powerful spirit. That power exists inside you now.
God gives us a great human trait called resiliency. The ability to face our fears and become more confident and stronger as a result of trials.
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But you must let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
Hear more of God’s encouragement:
1) Joshua 1:9 ESV
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
2) 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
I’m a massive fan of Russell Crowe. I love his movies for several reasons, one being his ability to portray masculininity in the face of suffering and resilience. This shown by the characters playing the heroes in films such as; Gladiator, Master and Commander and Noah demonstrate. There’s a particular quote from the Movie Robin Hood that still stays with me:
“Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.”
During Australian business Week I was inspired by a quote shared in the Mackenzie 1 Team’s speech. “If you Fall down 7 times, stand up 8.”
Mundaring Christian College, I want to encourage you today to stand up the 8th time, to rise and rise again until you all become lions.
Here are four helpful tips to build a sense of resilience:
1) Clean your room – you might not be able to change the world, but you can change the part of the world you inhabit. Get your small part of the world in order first.
2) Don’t compare - Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others in a negative way - our backstories are all so different from each other that comparing yourself to someone else is not a valid comparison. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Your goal for life should be to become who God has gifted you to be, not always wishing to be someone else.
3) Face your fears head-on. Often the real fear is experienced in worrying about your fears. If you tackle your fears head-on without spending too much time thinking about it, you can overcome it more easily. Once you master your initial fear, your confidence will grow, and you will find it easier next time.
4) Have a mission – get inspired by something meaningful in your life. For me and many of us at MCC, that meaningful thing is Faith in God, his son Jesus and building his kingdom. Having a sense of purpose will help you overcome your troubles as you can see ‘the bigger picture.’
1 Micah 7:8 ESV
"Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me".