Our life is in union with Christ. Our lives our hidden in Christ with God (Colossians 3), and the life of Christ dwells in us. Our truest life is the life we have in communion with Christ. All the benefits of the gospel flow from our union with Christ!
Lent reminded us of our union with Christ in his death. The resurrection of Christ on Easter morning reminds us that we participate in Christ’s resurrection. His resurrection is our resurrection! The Apostle Paul puts it succinctly when he writes, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:5). The life we have in Christ is an eternal life, a life of participating in communion with the Father, Son, and Spirit.
The basis of our confidence and assurance as a Christian believer is not how well we do. Rather our hope is anchored in the life of Christ and his resurrection that guarantees ours. We can live assured that God will protect and keep us as his children (John 10:27-28). The eternal life he gives us he also preserves within us.
It is often hard for us born and nurtured within Western individuality to grasp the significance of our union and participation in Christ. The resurrection is a grand and glorious miracle. Our faith rests upon Christ being raised from the dead. Christ’s resurrection and our faith in him usher in the miracle of participatory communion with the Trinitarian God. We are not living an isolated individual life. Ours is not an autonomous journey. We live in the staggering mystery of God’s life in us and ours in him. It is a mystery far beyond our comprehension, and yet it is the very essence of the life we have.
I have been drawn to consider the relationship between our union with Christ in his resurrection (and the comfort we have in him), and our soul’s capacity for resiliency. Resiliency is the soul’s capacity to recover from losses, disappointments, and life’s hardships. When our soul’s resiliency is underdeveloped we make categorical judgments and assert, “I’ll never get over this.” The wounded soul stays fixated in hurt and anger.
Of course, there is the exaggerated other-end of the spectrum and that is when a person is deeply injured or wounded, and essentially says, “Don’t worry, be happy.” This happy-go-lucky soul is self-dismissive and uses denial as a way to cope. Unfortunately, this exaggeration leaves the soul disconnected from the life it is living.
Resiliency recognizes and takes into account loss, disappointment, and hardship and, having attended to the pain involved, is able to learn and mature from deep and profound wounds. The capacity to recover, to continue on without hidden resentment and bitterness is influenced and shaped by our identification with the resurrection of Christ. Whatever happens, we have life. No matter how painful life is we remain hidden in Christ with God. The more we are able to enter experientially into our communion with Christ and internalize the truth of his resurrection being our resurrection, the soul has both a power and a perspective that nurtures resiliency of heart.
Ours is a risen life and a resilient life. Thanks be to God! (Rich Plass)