Exec. Director of Institute for Faith and Resilience offers guidance to IFLC Health and Healthcare Committee on overcoming adversity through faith


Recently, Rev. Dr. Nathan White, executive director of the Institute for Faith and Resilience in Lafayette, Louisiana, spoke with the IFLC Health and Healthcare Committee about the intersection of faith and resilience and concepts to consider as the IFLC develops its approach to the subject.

White has expertise in a variety of academic and pastoral fields related to the intersection of faith and resilience. As an ordained Anglican minister, Dr. White has extensive pastoral experience, having served both in local parishes and in the U.S. Army as a Chaplain. His service as a Chaplain includes time on Active Duty where he served with the 1st Infantry Division and 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in the Army Reserve where he served in Germany and in his current assignment at the Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Washington, DC. 

During the discussion, Dr. White mentioned the importance of sharing stories of resilience from faith traditions to offer people a sense that resilience is part of the culture of faith and that adversity is overcome through faith.

IFLC president Raman Singh recalled stories from Sikhism that touched upon the topic. During the time of the 8th Sikh Guru’s childhood, outbreaks of cholera and smallpox struck Delhi, she explained.  His selfless reaction of care, concern, and action that ultimately cost him his life is so revered in the Sikh tradition that there now stands the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara built in his memory.

“Even at age 7, he was so touched when he heard about the people’s suffering that he decided to go,” said Singh. “He provided comfort and healing to many devotees. It is said that his touch and prayers alleviated the suffering of many during this epidemic.  However, he himself contracted the disease, and passed away at age seven.  There is a Gurdwara built in his memory – Bangla Sahib, which has a pool next to it than many believe still has healing properties.”

IFLC volunteer Maya Mortada recalled a story from the Muslim tradition.

Around 1400 years ago, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Imam Hussain faced a battle against the current unjust ruler of the Muslims who was cruel to the people.

The ruler wanted Imam Hussain to pledge allegiance to him to gain legitimacy but Imam Hussain refused.  Despite not having enough supporters in his army, Imam Hussain decided to stand up against him instead of pledging allegiance to someone who didn’t practice the tenants of Islam.

Unfortunately the battle ended in Imam Hussein and his 72 male supporters being martyred in a very gruesome and tragic way. The women were taken as prisoners. Lady Zainab, the sister of Imam Hussain, ended up face to face with the unjust ruler.

The ruler was making fun of her brother’s martyrdom and was asking her how she felt about God’s treatment of her brother’s death and she responded “I see nothing but beauty and mercy” because she saw that standing up for justice for God and to continue the message of God was beautiful.

Muslims around the world still remember Imam Hussein and Lady Zainab’s story to help endure hardships they are facing. It helps them turn to God at their most vulnerable times to remember that even during the most vulnerable time of the Prophet Muhammad’s family (peace be upon him) she still saw hope and mercy in the tragedy

All religions have faced adversity.

If you have a story of resilience from your faith community, please share it with us by contacting Stacy Gittleman, newsletter editor, at stacyiflc@gmail.com

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