Life demands courage—not an unthinking or blissful denial of reality—but feeling afraid and still acting for good. Courage is the conviction that we will see the goodness of the Lord in this land of the living. No matter what life brings on, we can rise above fear and trust God to be our light and our salvation, our sure stronghold in diversity.
This trust in God sets us free to be and act courageously, to live authentically, to forgive readily. All very scary prospects for us—it is difficult to live vulnerably. But trust gives us: the power to persevere (in the face of awful); the power to repent (admission of fault); the power to obey (loss of control); the power of compassion (when we want to “I told you so”). Trust gives us the inner strength and spirit to treat others with respect and tolerance (instead of in fear). Trust will give us hope and joy in our daily lives, honesty in our interactions, patience in waiting. Trust lies in our ability to “let go and let God.”
We know that our faith is the basis of our hope and trust—it is not dependent upon circumstance or luck, but on the very character of God. When we focus on the character of God all circumstances fall into their proper perspective. God has given us the “Blessed Assurance” that our lives (past, present and future) are in more capable hands than our own. This is faith in God from which springs hope and trust. Faith and hope and trust are a Trinity of their own; dependent, inter-dependent and relational.
The message of the Resurrection is one of hope in the face of all our fears—because we trust in God’s salvation for us and hope and believe in God’s goodness and mercy—we have faith. And we have good reason to be optimistic! Hope and trust give us understanding of the scripture and hymn text: “Death where is your sting?” So how do we go about changing our distress into moments of faith, hope and trust? I think the Rev. writer John O’Donohue says it best in this blessing:
When the light around you lessens and Your thoughts darken until your body feels fear turn
Cold as a stone inside,
When you find yourself bereft of any belief in yourself, And all unknowingly leaned on has fallen,
When one voice commands your whole heart, And it is raven dark.
Steady yourself and see that it is your own thinking that darkens the world,
Search and you will find a diamond-thought of light,
Know that your are not alone and that this darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes to find the one gift your life requires Hidden within this night-corner.
Invoke the learning of every suffering you have suffered.
Close your eyes.
Gather all the kindling about your heart to create one spark.
That is all you need to nourish the flame That will cleanse the dark of its weight of festered fear.
A new confidence will come alive to urge you to higher ground
Where your imagination will learn to engage difficulty As its most rewarding threshold!
Have a wonderful Easter season—May your life be a Psalm of Hope to all around you.
Keep singing in your hearts!
Just a Note: Here are two lovely pieces of music corresponding to the Easter message of the Resurrection.