“Some days we wake to a world of crystal skies and bright possibilities. And other days it’s to rain pelting our windows and thunder rattling our roofs. How can we stay strong when the storms of life hit—when a spouse leaves, a client sues, unemployment strikes, or our dreams fail to come true? Is it possible not just to weather these trials, but bound back even stronger through them?”
A few weeks ago Scottie and Joe spoke with Sheridan Voysey, known to many ultra106.5 fm listeners for his long-running Sunday night show, Open House, where he interviewed people from all kinds of backgrounds about issues of faith, life, and culture. Sheridan left Open House in 2011 when he and wife Merryn moved to the UK to start afresh after a decade-long unsuccessful struggle to start a family.
“Blessed are the poor”
Sheridan explains that, in that dark time of his life, he decided to read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount every day for a month as a kind of experiment. The Sermon on the Mount is a familiar passage for many people, whether or not they read the Bible much: it’s the bit where Jesus talks about loving your enemies, treating others how you’d want to be treated, about being blessed when you’re at the end of your rope, blessed when you’re persecuted, blessed when you’re poor. It’s pretty confronting stuff, and probably the words you’d most want to gloss over when you’re feeling hopeless, broken, when every dream you’ve ever had has shrivelled and died within you.
Sheridan persevered though, and his experiment continued a second month, then a third. He says, “I realised that it (the speech) was all about resilience, about how you stay strong through the storms of life. What do Jesus’ teachings look like in everyday modern life? They’re radical. So much of modern psychological research into resilience—how to cope with the death of a loved one, broken dreams, all kinds of loss, all of this ‘modern’ research is wrapped up in the Sermon on the Mount.
Recycling our stuff
“None of us are bullet-proof”, Sheridan says. “We all have challenges. By the time we hit 40 we’ve all experienced something: a broken dream, a not-going-as-planned. The amazing thing is though, when you walk through those times with God they’re not wasted, they can be recycled into profound lessons, lessons that can be passed on and shared with others.”
This book, ‘Resilient’, is Sheridan’s findings from the experiment. It’s a journey of 90 readings designed to recalibrate your callings, relationships, spiritual practices, and life choices—helping you to find resilience. Grab a copy online, or at Koorong today.
You can also read more of Sheridan Voysey’s work at his website, http://sheridanvoysey.com/