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How to Bounce Back
by Tom Goodman
April 2, 2014

We will react to setbacks with resentment or resilience.  It all depends on our confidence in God.

In 2013, Buffalo Bills' receiver Steve Johnson dropped a pass in the end zone, causing an overtime loss to the Steelers.  After the game he tweeted out a complaint to God:  "I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!!  AND IS THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!!  YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS???  HOW???!!!  I'LL NEVER FORGET THIS!!  EVER!!!"

Most of us have had moments like this, though not so public.  But contrast his/our reaction to Bethany Hamilton's response to setback.  Eleven years ago she had been ranked as the best amateur teen surfer in Hawaii, and she wanted to use her growing fame to make much of Jesus.  Then she lost her left arm in a shark attack in 2003.  It's no surprise that at first she wondered why God would let that happen.  But she quickly adjusted emotionally, and it's likely the "Soul Surfer" has become a brighter light for Jesus without a left arm than she ever would have as just another surfing phenom.

Just six months after the shark attack, her pastor Steve Thompson said, "She's looking forward to the future.  She's asking herself, 'How can I show the world I still have a life and that my life is filled with joy?'  She has an underlying trust that God is taking care of her."

That's the key to resilience:  Faith.  Not the sort of "faith" that says, "If I keep up my end of the deal, God will come through for me and give me what I want."  No, but the sort of faith that says, "My happiness is based on God and not on circumstances."

Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would demonstrate this kind of confidence (42:4) . . .

But I said, "I have labored in vain;
    I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand,
    and my reward is with my God."

This comes from the second of four "Servant Songs" in Isaiah.  Chapters 42, 49, 50, and 53 are lyrical prophecies of the Messiah.  We looked at the first one last Sunday (listen here), and we'll study the second one this Sunday.  Let's find out from the Son of God how to maintain our faith in God when life knocks us down!


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