Joy & Peace

joy

One of the signs that we are truly trusting in God is that we are happy while we wait.  God never wanted us to be depressed while we waited for our promise to show up for our physical eyes to see.  Really, it doesn’t even make sense for us to stand around pouting.  God already said the promise is ours.  There’s a great excuse to get excited!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:1)

Sometimes, though, our emotions don’t want to agree with what we believe.  It’s frustrating . . . and it requires extra action!

Lara was my roommate while I went to school in Canada.  We became great friends, and I was overjoyed when I was asked to be her Maid of Honor a few years after we graduated!  She told me later how she and her husband got into a relationship.

Though they had known each other for several years, Jordan was “just a friend.”  But one night everything changed.  Lara had been especially depressed and discouraged about her single life and family issues that plagued her days.  It was church night, and she almost stayed home.   During praise and worship, though, God began to talk to her about getting past what she was feeling.  Would she praise and worship Him with all her heart, even though she didn’t feel like it?  Or would she sit on the pew and sulk in her frustrations?  The godly girl that she was (and is!), she chose to worship God with all she had.  At that point, Jordan saw her and thought, “I’ve got to get to know her better!”  The rest is history.

It’s amazing what God will do when we choose to rise above our disappointments and give Him everything.  Praising Him when we’re feeling our worst is a sign that we trust Him.  And when He sees that trust, He goes to work for us!  Sometimes it takes an action of faith on our part to press through the emotions and tap into the joy and peace that God says can be ours.  Or to encourage someone else that is feeling low.  God instructed Lara to write letters to her future husband every time she felt depressed about her love life.  By her actions she was declaring her faith in God’s promise to her – even when she couldn’t see it with her eyes.

When I was single, I would get sad when I’d watch a romantic chick flick or see one of my friends get married.  I’d watch the sweet relationship between a guy and a girl develop and mourn that it wasn’t me.  But later I changed my tune.  I found it very sweet and thought, “That’s going to be me!”  I didn’t know it because there was a potential guy at my front door.  I wasn’t confident because of the way I felt.  I knew it because my confidence is in God’s promise to me.

A good definition of hope is “confident expectation for the future.”  When we believe that we will see His promises fulfilled in our lives, we can confidently thrive in the hope that He has given us.  But to be able to be able to abound or thrive in that hope, not matter what’s going on around us, we need joy and peace to sustain us.  We can’t work up those attributes ourselves.  They’re given to us through the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us.  That’s what keeps our hope alive and makes it so powerful and unchanging.  With this hope, we can, like Elizabeth spoke over Mary, confidently say over ourselves:  Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)

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