Overflow with Hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
I love this verse. It didn’t quite make it into my list of Strongholds last year, so I’m writing about it now. This is a verse for all seasons, but now more than ever. We always need hope, every one of us, but especially now. We all need joy and peace, but especially now.
In deeply worrying times we need the peace of God to still our anxieties, and we need the joy of God to be cheerful despite our circumstances. Most of all, we need the hope of God. It’s the best kind, because human hope is short-lived, fragile and superficial. But God is the ‘God of hope’. He is the ultimate source of hope, the author and purveyor of the best hope available.
If you’re putting your hope in doctors or politicians or scientists, you’ll be disappointed. Of course, God works through those people to do important work, but ultimately our hope comes from God.
He doesn’t just dispense a little bit of joy and peace, rationed or begrudged; no – he will ‘fill you with all joy and peace’. But notice that it’ll come ‘as you trust in Him’? That means you have to trust Him to access this good stuff. You don’t get joy and peace and then trust God. No! you trust God, then the peace and joy flows without limit. Maybe you’ve heard me say this before, but it bears repeating: trusting God comes first.
If you don’t feel peace or joy at the moment, maybe it’s because you’re not trusting God? Try trust, and see what happens.
And is it just so we each get our own peace and joy? Far from it. It says ‘so that…’ – there’s a reason beyond ourselves. ‘So that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’. Two things here:
One: we’re to pass on this hope to others. The peace and joy of God is not meant to reside in us like drink in a sealed bottle, only for our own benefit. No, it’s supposed to overflow out of us, like we’ve got so much we can’t possibly keep it to ourselves. We’re meant to be fountains, not bottles. If you take hope from today’s verse – who can you share it with and how?
Two: we do this with God’s power, not our own. It says this filling and overflowing happens ‘by the power of the Holy Spirit’. We can’t do this ourselves; hope is never human-powered. If you go alone, in your own strength, you’ll burn out and dry out, but if you trust in God’s power, He’ll keep you refreshed and fit for the long haul.
Trust God today, let Him fill you with the peace and joy that you desperately need, and then pass it on to others.
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