One of the things psychologists tell us is that it’s not enough to give something up; we have to replace a bad habit with something positive. Jesus said a similar thing in more graphic terms: When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45) It’s not enough simply to eschew despair; we must also embrace hope.

Paul tells us that faith, hope and love are the things which will last. (1 Cor 13:13) We serve a God of hope and because of this, it’s possible for us to overflow with hope. (Rom 15:13) Hope, as the character Red said in the film ‘Shawshank Redemption’, is a dangerous thing. It is dangerous because it can be the fuel that keeps us going in the most desperate of situations. It can help us through the most difficult times because it tells us that what we are presently seeing and experiencing are not the whole story. There is more!

Easter is that time when all hope seemed lost – Good Friday shows us the depths of sorrow, horror and hopelessness from a human point of view. But, as the Negro spiritual songs remind us, ‘Friday’s here, but Sunday’s comin’!’ The resurrection of Jesus shows us that we are never without hope and because of this, we can continue with faith, hope and love. At this time when despair and uncertainty are reigning, it seems, we need, more than ever, to embrace the hope God offers us all.