Saint Augustine once said “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.” This is a quote that resounds so loudly in today’s world. When I look around the world in which we live in I cannot help but notice that it is broken. I imagine that everyone could name at least one injustice that exists within society whether it be human trafficking, social inequality or exploitation in the workplace. Many of us will know personally the struggles of failing relationships or have seen the images from earthquake ravaged Nepal. Our world needs hope.
Augustine’s quote reminds us that hope exists in anger and courage. We need to see places in our world that are in need of hope. These are the places of brokenness and be so moved by them that we simply cannot stand to see them remain. We need the courage to take a stand against the evils of our world and bravely challenge them. We can do this at a variety of levels but ultimately the Christian must turn to God. He is the only true answer to our broken world. It is not just the world that is broken but also you and me. The ultimate injustice that we can ever carry out is when we unseat God and make ourselves lord. Surely our own actions should lead us to despairing anger. Anger at our own sinfulness. But we also need courage. We need the courage to throw ourselves before God and ask for forgiveness. This may be scary and unpleasant but it is what gives us the hope to see God restore us. Courage then is less about us and more about God in us.
The fact that it is God working within us should give us hope. It should give us peace to know that even in our failings God is still at work in bringing redemption. It creates for us a reliance on him rather than in our own ability. As Augustine says elsewhere, “Lord, command what you will and grant what you command.” If God calls us to hope through anger and courage then we can be assured that he will grant us the strength and ability to do so.