“Some things benefit from shocks. They thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors. Depriving complex systems of volatility, randomness, and stressors will harm them. They will weaken, die, or blow up.”

-Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb

We have been “fragilizing” many things in our society for some time now. This is especially evident in how we raise children. With virtually no free play that is devoid of adult supervision, children do not learn how to negotiate conflict without appealing to an adult authority figure. Zamboni parents smooth the rough ice ahead at every juncture, leaving young adults ill equipped to deal with the rough patches and stresses that inevitably come with maturing into adulthood. Universities have seen a huge increase in mental health issues. An increasing number of students don’t seem to be able to bear even the simpler stresses of academic life like getting up for class or handing in a paper on time.
In church we have fragilized the faith, by overemphasizing on the comforting parts of the gospel. A lot of Christians need regular injections of hyper-positive encouragement to prop up their faith, and seem to balk at any challenging teaching that stretches their comfort zone.
The concept of antifragility is that we can not just survive, but thrive under stress. The way things get antifragile is increasing, gradual exposure to stressors. Much like the body’s immune system builds up resistance to disease, we can build up resistance to life’s hardships and actually become stronger because of that exposure. Some think this concept is new, but it is actually biblical.

Check out these anti fragile scriptures:

We can rejoice,too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our faith.

-Romans 5:3

For we know that when your faith is tested, endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be mature and complete, needing nothing.

– James 1:2

There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold…

– 1 Peter 1:7

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be glad for these trials make you partners with Christ in His sufferings…

– 1 Peter 4:13

All of these scriptures suggest that faith actually grows stronger and more adaptable not despite hardship and trial, but because of hardship and trial. When we face trials we will either blame God or claim God. I have seen this play out over and over again. We must partner with Christ in suffering, if we are to partner with Christ in saving. Joy does not arise from experiencing continual ease and comfort, but from learning to face and overcome obstacles and hardships.

Sometimes people use the metaphor of a greenhouse to describe the Christian church or college. This is the wrong metaphor. A greenhouse is a special artificial environment to protect fragile plants from the harsh realities of the outside world. We need to be more of a spiritual boot camp, training spiritual soldiers to face battle in the real world. We must not feed into the veneration of victimhood going on in our culture. The Bible says that we are not just conquerors, but more than conquerors through Christ. A fragile faith is not a biblical faith. We may experience moments of weakness, but that is not who we are. We are victors, not victims.
So lean into suffering. Face hardship. This is what God is really up to in your life. He is using all things together for your good to develop your endurance, build your character, and give you an antifragile faith.