Courageous Faith in Challenging Times

What gives you the courage to persevere when life is challenging? What keeps you from giving up or becoming overwhelmed?

I recently read Rev. Emily Heath’s book, “Courageous Faith: How to Rise and Resist in a Time of Fear” (The Pilgrim Press 2017). Rev. Heath writes: “Resurrection is resistance. Resurrection is God’s response to a world where injustice reigns so supreme that it would rather kill love and grace incarnate than welcome it. Resurrection is the final word to a culture of death, a refusal to allow goodness and mercy to be buried” (page xii).

I was struck by the description of resurrection as resistance and have been pondering it for days. It is easy to associate Jesus’ resurrection with the Easter excitement of trumpets, alleluias, and glorious anthems. But of course, it was resistance: resistance to death. Love was triumphant!

We all cope with challenging aspects of our lives that seek to overwhelm us: insecurity, addiction, trauma, guilt, frustration, illness, anger, etc. So what do we do? Rev. Heath reminds us that we are people of faith who believe in the power of resurrection, that new life is possible and we have the power to re-form our personal lives and the world around us. “Love is the ultimate resistance to the worst that this world can do (p. 145).” We may not be able to control everything, but that does not prevent us from keeping love central for ourselves as we experience and react to the world around us.

If love is the basis of our faith, and what we see and hear around us is not promoting love, then it is time to resist fear and to gain more courage to do the right things. What steps each of us takes will vary: seeing the possibilities when others give up; interceding in conversations that are destructive toward individuals; letter writing political officials that promote policies that support discrimination; protesting in the streets; performing acts of civil disobedience; praying for those whose hearts seem hardened to love. When these are done because of our love of God, love of neighbor, and love of ourselves, we are living our faith. We are claiming who we are as Christians and whose we are. I am grateful for the ways in which I see these things happening!

May God give us the courage for the living of these days!
Blessings, Char Burch