World Week of Prayer: Resilience in unlikely places

Date: 07 November 2023

At the recent global communications meeting held in September at the World YMCA headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Gerhard Wiebe from YMCA Germany (CVJM) shared a devotion. His message resonated deeply with this year’s Week of Prayer theme: “Seeds to Blossoms: Cultivating Hope and Love in Solidarity”. Held annually with the World YWCA, the Week of Prayer is 12-18 November 2023.

Gerhard presented an intriguing photograph of a sunflower, growing at the edge of the National YMCA building in Germany. Reflecting on the image, words such as resilience, beauty, and hope emerged.

“The thing about this flower is not just its existence, but its location", he said. “This is a very unnatural and strange place for a flower. Somehow it survives and even thrives in a place not meant for it”.

This sunflower’s resilience parallels the challenges faced by the YMCA community. At times, the YMCA encounters obstacles – be it limited resources, political upheavals like in Ukraine, or global crises like the Covid pandemic. In these moments, doubt may creep in. There may be feelings that young people are losing their space and hope in society.

However, as Gerhard noted, even in challenging circumstances, the YMCA perseveres. Dedicated individuals continually create spaces for youth, investing in their potential and making a real difference in communities worldwide.

Gerhard reinforced his message with the following Bible verse:

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31.

This scripture, much like the story of the sunflower, underscores the YMCA’s spirit and the transformative power of hope and resilience.