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Fostering Hope in the Face of Fear

Fear and anxiety are striking our young people in a surprising way.

Or perhaps not so surprising when we see how many adults are struggling with those same issues. How can parents expect to teach their children how to cope when they themselves are struggling. Hope is something that can be fostered best in times of difficulty. Father Gabriel writes “The least act of hope, trust in God, made in the midst of trials, in a state of interior or exterior desolation, is worth far more than a thousand acts made in times of joy and prosperity” (p742, Divine Intimacy). The best time to foster hope, is actually when we find ourselves faced with fear.

Our weakness is the invitation to turn to the Lord.

“The knowledge of our weakness out to make us keenly aware of our need for God: indeed our weakness itself ought to be an incessant cry, begging with complete confidence for His all-powerful aid” (Gabriel, p 744, Divine Intimacy).

Temporary bouts of anxiety and fear* can be by products or symptoms of a failure to trust. They are the temptation to give attention to the little voice that whispers “you can’t do it because you aren’t good enough”. But the reality is that we can not do it alone – we can however do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:13). When we fear or feel overwhelmed, that is precisely the time to ask the Lord for our daily bread. When we ask for just what we need in the moment, today, right now, we turn our eyes away from the things our of our control, to simply what is being asked of or for us in the present.

We surrender our emotions, laying them down before him, and in return with hope, ask for His grace to guide our next step, choice, or action. We turn our focus to Him. Sometime the next step is simply to surrender and do nothing more but accept his grace. More often surrender is an active process by which we are opening ourselves up more completely to the will of God for us in that moment.

The more the soul expands with hope and trust in God, the wider it will open to His sanctifying action” (Fr. Gabriel, p 744).

The next time you feel yourself struggling in this area, turn your thoughts to the Lord. In the name of Jesus surrender the fear and ask the Lord to guide you. When you see your child struggling, walk through this process of surrender together. A simply “Jesus I trust in You” can refocus our hearts and minds on what matters in that moment.

*Many struggle with serious anxiety and/or depression. This post and the content are not meant as a substitution for professional help which can be a great blessing to many. If you struggle with severe or chronic anxiety or depression please know that you deserve to get help – text 741741 from anywhere in the US and you will be connected immediately to a crisis counselor.