Bouncing Back

Growing Resilience

When tough things happen, we feel hurt and sad

Karen Holford is director of Family Ministries for the Trans-European Division.

 WHEN TOUGH THINGS HAPPEN, we feel hurt and sad. That’s normal. But we also have a choice. We can stay hurt, or we can learn from what happened and grow stronger. This is called being “resilient,” which is the ability to bounce back when difficult things happen.



Think of a time in your life when something tough happened, but you bounced back and grew stronger. Maybe you moved to a new home and were lonely, and then you made new friends. Perhaps your family faced a challenge, but with God’s help you found a good way through. If you can’t think of anything that has happened to you, then ask a parent or grandparent to tell you about a time when they bounced back. Write the story, or draw it like a cartoon. Remembering the past can help us meet challenges in the future.



God wants to help us be bouncy people. Whenever tough things happen, He can help us grow closer to Him, learn from Him, and trust Him to put things right.

  • Look up these verses and match them to God’s promises for us.
  • Choose your favorite promise and write it on a card, poster, garland, or bookmark to remind you of God’s incredible promise to you.
  • Decorate the promise in your favorite way.
  • Make another decorated promise and give it to a friend who needs encouragement.



  1. Proverbs 3:5, 6
  2. Isaiah 41:10
  3. Psalm 34:18
  4. Psalm 103:11-14
  5. Isaiah 40:31
  6. 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4
  7. Isaiah 26:3
  8. Jeremiah 29:11
  9. 1 Peter 5:7
  10. Psalm 23:4



I will always be with you

I will be especially close to you when you face tough challenges

When you hope in Me, I will make you strong

When life is sad, I will comfort you

I will give you peace

Trust Me, and I will make your path smooth

I am close to everyone whose heart is broken

Give all your worries to Me because I care deeply about you

I am merciful and kind, and I love you like My own child

I have special plans for your life


Bounce the Ball

  • Choose one of your favorite promise verses from the list above.
  • Find a bouncy ball and go outside with your family or some friends.
  • Stand in a circle.
  • Bounce the ball to one another. You may bounce it around the circle, or bounce it across the circle in a random pattern.
  • Whenever someone catches the ball, they must say one word of the Bible verse, in order, until everyone has learned the verse.



Jesus met many people who felt sad, lonely, and hopeless. But Jesus loved them and helped them to find hope and healing.

  • Look up these Bible verses, name the person, and find out what happened.
  • P.S. One of these passages is a parable. Can you find which one?




John 18:15-18; 25-27; Acts 2:14-39

John 4:1-42

Matthew 8:1-4

Luke 5:17-26

Luke 19:1-10

Luke 24:13-35

John 11:17-44

Luke 15:11-32



Here are some things you can do to bounce back from challenges.

  • Circle the ones you are already doing in blue.
  • Circle any others you would like to try in green.
  • Add anything else you are doing, or would like to do, to the empty balls.
  • Talk about these ideas with your family.


  • Pray together about your challenge
  • Remember how much God loves you
  • Talk about your challenges together
  • Trust God’s promises
  • Memorize encouraging Bible verses
  • Make a list of your hopes
  • Notice the strengths in your character
  • Thank God for your blessings
  • Help others who are struggling
  • Forgive those who hurt you
  • Find a good hobby that you really enjoy
  • Celebrate good times together
  • Remember that God is always with you
  • Learn from every situation
  • Comfort each other



Choose one of these characters and read some of their story. Look for the character strengths that helped them to bounce back. What else can you learn from them? Tell their story in pictures, as a play, or even by gathering a series of objects from their life that you can arrange in a long line to help tell their story. Share the story with your family. Then discuss the following questions together. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers!

  • What’s your favorite part of this story?
  • What’s the most important message for you in this story?
  • Which person in the story is most like you, or which part of the story describes your experience?
  • What does this story tell you about how God cares for you through all the challenges in your lives?


Here are some Bible characters who bounced back well after difficult times. They were sold as slaves, thrown into prison, forced to leave home, and chased by enemies.

Joseph (Genesis 37, 39-46)

Naomi (Book of Ruth)

Daniel (Book of Daniel)

Esther (Book of Esther)

Moses (Exodus)

                                                                                                                       David (1 and 2 Samuel)



  • Read Matthew 25:31-40.
  • With your family, make a list of people you know who are going through tough times.
  • Pray for them as often as you can.
  • Make cards to give the people and write a special prayer or verse inside.
  • Think about what you can do to help them, or ask them what you could do to help.
  • Whatever you do for them, you are also doing for Jesus!