Resilience in Life and Faith

Tony Horsfall and Debbie Hawker

This is a practical and helpful book dealing with different aspects to help develop resilience alongside snapshots of characters from the Bible that illustrates those aspects at work. The material that is presented covers building resilience in the areas of the spiritual, physical, emotional, cognitive and creative, social and systemic (SPECS) parts of our lives and then illustrates those through the biblical record of characters like Nehemiah, Elijah, David, Joseph, the early disciples and Jesus himself. A whole chapter is devoted to resilient women in the Bible.

Questions at the end of each chapter help to move it on from merely information transfer to active engagement and application for one’s own life and at the end there is a personal resilience rating scale to help the reader assess their own level of resilience, as well as a resilience “creed” that is both challenging and inspirational and could be used in a church or group setting. Overall, the book is pitched at a level that any reader looking for help in dealing with life’s normal as well as extreme challenges will be able to respond to with gratitude for the insights and practical counsel given.

I could do worse than sum up the central message of the book through a quotation that the authors have added from Tim Herbert: “How do we develop these deep roots? To use a sapling as an analogy, trees develop deep roots by going through hardship… We know that we need to stake a young tree to stop it blowing over in the first place, but… if we stake it too tightly, it… will not develop deep roots. Only if it is allowed to wave in the wind will its roots go deeper in the ground to provide more stability. The more it shakes, the further the roots will go seeking rocks to hang on to. For us, those rocks are God and the great truths of our salvation.”

Reviewed by Phil Jolley

Phil Jolley works for European Christian Mission International. Previously based in Spain, he now works in the International office as Director of Finance and Administration.