Hope, Anger and Courage

The Power of Hope

 

Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are. 

- St. Augustine of Hippo

 

Easter is upon us, and I am so grateful! After the long months of winter and the long weeks of Lent, I am desperate for the green that is returning to the world and for the hope of flowers and fruit that come in its wake.  Easter is a season of hope, a season in which we are reminded that God, and only God, has the power to make all things new, and that it is His idea, His purpose, to do just that.  

 

But will He make MY things new?  My heartache, my disappointment, my loss, my loneliness… will He make those things new?  It is easy to say that God raised Jesus from the dead, we have ample proof that He has done that, but proof is often not there to convince me that He is concerned about making my life new.  This uncertainty can easily rob us of the virtue of hope.  St. Augustine knew that hope was not primarily a feeling, but a virtue, and yet he observes that the virtue gives rise to these two feelings: anger and courage, and he calls them beautiful.

 

It is not a popular truth, but the fact is that our pain gives rise to anger, real anger at our circumstances, our persecutors, even at God himself.  If it seems impolite or blasphemous to speak words of anger at God, it is only because we have become unfamiliar with the less popular books of the Bible.  Job, David, Moses all had words of frustration and anger to speak to the Almighty, precisely because He is almighty.  He is the One who could have prevented our pain or cured our sickness.  He is the One who feels absent or unconcerned as the days and weeks of sorrow and pain drag on.  Can He hear us?  Does He even care?  Why doesn’t He make THESE things new?

 

We are rightly angry about the way things are.  What about our courage?

 

It has been my honor in this last year to walk with dozens of the most courageous people I have ever met.  They suffer loss, fear, abuse, addiction, illness and abandonment and they are angry, rightly so, but they fight on: seeking to find healing for what has been wounded in their lives, seeking to allow God to make their things new.  In their seeking and struggling they exercise the virtue of hope until it becomes strong in them, as real and solid a fact as their love or their faith.  And this strong hope is a confidence that God will keep His promises to them in this life and the next.

 

Happy Easter!  He is risen!

 

Cathy Durando, MA PLPC

 

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