In my Bible reading today, I came across a little verse tucked away in the fifteenth chapter of Romans:
13 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.
Paul is giving words of encouragement and exhortation to believers, and I have a few observations that helped me this morning.
Observation #1 Our God is the God of hope! “May the God of hope…” He is not the God of discouragement; he is the God of hope. It does not take long in this world to discover there is not much hope in the present world. Our hope is not something we create or invent; our hope is found in God. The songwriter of long ago stated it this way “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” Discouragement creeps into our hearts when we substitute other things as our reason for hope. Hope is not found in a bank account, political discourse, career, or positions we hold or any other substitutes for a right relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Observation #2 Our God desires to fill us with great gifts. He fills us with the Holy Spirit. In this verse, Paul identifies two other gifts God wants to supply us with: joy and peace. Joy is an inside job! Joy and happiness are not the same things. Happiness is dependent upon a happening, real joy comes from God. All of the happenings of my life are not happy! Regardless of what I am going through, I can have the joy of Jesus. Joy should be a tangible expression of the spirit-filled life.
Observation #3 You can have peace from God. When you experience peace with God, you will know the peace that can only come from God. Peace is much talked about, peace conference, peace talks, peacekeepers and so on, and yet there seems to be little peace in the world. Real peace is a gift from God. He gives us peace that holds us steady in life’s strongest storms. His peace comforts us even as we are experiencing great disappointment and times of discouragement. Peace comes from God, and He desires to enable us to have peace day in and day out.
Hope comes from the Lord, and as I experience His joy and peace that are given to me, and as I trust in Him, I do not just possess some hope, I overflow with hope. Now that is a promise.
Today, this is my prayer for you: may the God of hope fill you and may you today and always experience His peace and joy so that you are overflowing with hope.