I have guided multiple trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. Many trips included a wide variety of ages and interests. One trip had shy kids and boisterous ones, senior girls with little experience camping along with junior high boys that were very…restless.

Successful primitive camping in a remote wilderness requires that the team works together. We used Romans 15:5 as our theme verse, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” Well, that was my goal for them, even if it was far from reality. On the first day, after the portages, the mosquitoes, and 8 miles of paddling, we arrived at our campsite in the dark. They were hungry, exhausted, and they were united…against me!

The Sunday adult class titled “Resilience” is very timely for us, individually and for us as a church. We have been through a pandemic, we are in the middle of an economic crisis, and we are being bombarded by depressing topics every day. Several people have told me they can’t listen to the news because it makes them angry, disheartened, or exasperated. We might be tempted to say, “I have had enough!” Romans 15:5 reminds us that we need the endurance, encouragement, and unity that God provides.

God gives endurance to us, His weary soldiers, by walking beside us, carrying us, and refreshing us with His living water. Our job is to “look to Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.” Consider how the following verses give us endurance when we look to Jesus.

“He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being. You may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. You may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

-Ephesians 3:16-18

“Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed. The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us.”

“We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

-Romans 8:18, 26, 37-39

His Word encourages us. His promises remind us of who we really are regardless of how we might feel, and His promises never fail.

“See what great love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God! When Christ appears, we shall be like Him. 

-1 John 3:1-2

He has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless. He predestined us to be adopted. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

-Ephesians 1:3-7

Unity is the third gift that He promises. Notice that the unity comes “as you follow Christ Jesus.” He is the unifier. He is the one that gives us a united purpose and His Spirit is the means with which we work together.

“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.”

-Ephesians 4:4-6


“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

-1 Corinthians 12:4-6

When we look to Jesus and His Word, we will be refreshed rather than beaten down. We can celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit giving us endurance, encouragement, and unity.

We can be resilient!