Embrace Adversity: Choosing the pathway to resilience

blog May 16, 2024

By Colleen Rouse

It was a frightening encounter. My husband, Dennis, and I were enjoying a walk in a beautiful park with no one else in sight, engrossed in our conversation. That was until I heard a growl behind me and turned to see a rottweiler snarling and poised for attack. Instinctively, I raised myself up trying to make all of my 5-foot, 3-inch self as large as possible and roared as loud as I could. The animal immediately turned and ran off, never to return again.

My husband stared at me for a moment before we both broke out in laughter. I think we all underestimate the roar we have on the inside of us, waiting to be awakened, a roar that is connected to resilience.

At the time of the incident, we were in the midst of the pandemic, and I was writing my book Resilience: It’s Time to Get Up, in hopes of helping many who were dealing with a myriad of heartbreaking issues brought on by COVID-19. This is yet a relevant topic for today as many find themselves struggling with mental health issues. Perhaps a shift in perspective would prove helpful. Allow me to pose this question: What if adversity is here to make us stronger?

Let’s take a worst-case scenario. Can you think of a more diabolical plan concocted by the enemy of our soul than the plot to annihilate our Savior? This is what Paul has to say in response: “But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord” (1 Corinthians 2:7-8, NLT).

God hijacked the enemy’s ploy and, unbeknownst to him, it became a part of Heaven’s redemptive process. This tells me that no matter what measure of devastation the enemy throws at us, God will redeem it and use it for good. He has given us a response. He has given us resilience.


When God breathed life into man, He imparted His essence, and it is coded into our DNA. It is the stuff of recovery. Resilience is defined as “the power or ability to return to original form, position, after being bent, compressed or stretched; elasticity. Ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, buoyancy.”

Psalm 103:4 says, “He redeems your life from the Pit. He crowns you with lovingkindness and compassions.”

Its a part of our benefit package.

We have been created to do more than cope. We are created to overcome.


If you are a fan of action films, you understand the significant role that adversity plays in the movie. Remove adversity, and you are left with a Hallmark movie. Think about it: adversity is how the Marvel characters discover their superpowers! If there is no battle, there is no winning. There is no triumph without a trial.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation” (Romans 5:3-5, NLT).

Paul is describing how a resilient mindset processes adversity and builds new strength. This is an essential trait for us as leaders, if we want to be catalysts for change. In my 30-plus years of ministry, I have dealt with pressure and challenges. I don’t love the pressure, but I do love what is produced by it, for it causes me to lean on the Almighty for His grace and wisdom. Rather than allowing difficulties to wear us down, we can become spiritually buff, if we adopt a resilient mindset!


Pathways represent thought patterns. We are admonished in Proverbs 4:23 (NLT), “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” The thoughts and attitudes we choose establish trajectories. We can choose the path of resistance by being inflexible and rigid, or we can choose the path of resilience which gives us to capacity to bounce back and recover. As 1 Peter 4:13 (MSG) states, “It is all a part of our spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.”

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