Fear is easy to do when things aren't going all right, but fear can be too easy even when things do seem all right. Courage is always a choice, courage to do the next right thing. This is what can fuel your belief that everything is going to be all right. By doing the next right thing, you set yourself up for a tomorrow where things are more all right then they were yesterday. Out of all the prayers that God hears, he is eager to answer the ones that request courage.
Things got pretty tense for St. Paul. Acts 23. He's in the hotseat amongst the religious leaders. They want him imprisoned. They want him dead. Paul's able to get out of the room by dividing the leaders and getting them to fight amongst each other. A Roman commander needs to rescue Paul yet again from the riotous mob. At the end of the day, Jesus shows up to personally lift up Paul's eyes. His words? Take courage, Paul, it's going to be all right. It takes faith to hear these words and know they are true. The situation is dire for Paul, it's uncertain, it's not going the way he wants. He can't see around the corner to know what could happen next. He needed courage, he needed to believe that it was going to be all right.
Paul believed that Jesus of Nazareth was resurrected from the dead three days after his crucifixion. Paul also believed that this resurrection of Jesus was a sign of what was to come for all those who followed Jesus. Paul believed that someday God would resurrect from the dead all those who trusted Him. Paul believed that God would resurrect all these people into a world that had been made all right. These beliefs create a fruitful tension in Paul: he wants to live and help others follow Jesus so that they can be part of a world that will be made all right. But Paul is ready to die and await the resurrection and be that much closer to a world that has been made all right.
Paul had hope for this life - that no matter what happened to him, God was working in and through him to make things all right now. The work that God is doing in and through Paul is connected to that future day when everything will be made all right. Paul has hope in this life because of his belief in the resurrection. And Paul can take courage in this life because he knows that everything can be used by God as part of his work to make things all right. Paul knows that when he dies, God's work will be incomplete. There are decades and centuries and millenia of work yet to do. But he knows that someday everything will be all right. And Paul is letting God do that work now in and through him.
Take courage. Whatever it is that you are going through, God can work in and through you to make it all right. Take courage. The work may not turn out the way you want or imagined, but it will turn out all right. When you let God work his way in you and through you, it will turn out all right. It may not be completed in your life, but someday it will be. There will be a day when you wake up, and it is all right.
Take courage today. It's going to be all right.