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 [NIV]
This verse continues to appear in my life
bringing blessing, conviction, and ultimately restoring hope.
I am so thankful for HOPE, that no matter how crazy and broken the world becomes, what troubles personally come my way, or what destructive habit of mine I just cannot shake, God will ultimately deliver me. He will deliver all that are His.
I'd like to say I never waiver in my hope, but this verse closely ties joy and peace with hope. As a Christian, it is really hard at times to admit and even harder to say "I don't feel joy" or "I've lost my joy". We all experience this. Romans 15:13 gives us insight into what happens and what to do about it.
What happened: A few weeks ago, I felt empty and searched for what to do. I turned to this verse to be filled and five words jumped off the page. As you trust in him. I needed to do some reflection because evidently, there was something(s) I was not trusting God with. I dove in and discovered I was harboring "what if" future fears (i.e. what if my kids are not going to be OK; what if when they are adults, we are not close; what if when the kids leave, my husband and I don't have anything in common, etc.). Entertaining any of these things could lead into a spiral of even more uncertainty where there is no joy or peace felt.
What to do:
Do not depend on feelings
Feelings constantly change, and God's Word never changes (Hebrews 13:8; Matthew 5:17-18). Even if we are not "feeling" the truth of God's promises does not mean they are not true. We have got to remember this. God has given us His joy and His peace. It is always available. If we're not experiencing them, then we've moved and are not fully trusting Him.
Check your Trust Gauge
Let your feelings be an indicator of what is going on. As negative feelings surface, identify and acknowledge your feelings, then determine where you have allowed doubt. Actions can also provide evidence of a lack of trust. For example, I noticed a habit had formed of going to worldly things instead of God for comfort and emotional avoidance.
Speak so you can hear.
We are going to believe what we hear and we hear ourselves the most (Romans 10:17).
Just because we feel one thing, does not mean we cannot say something else.
Our voice can be louder than our feelings. If we decide to speak aloud what is true despite feeling it, we are faith-stepping and hearing God's Word that does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). That is our pick up your mat response. Hear are some things to speak. Find your go-to.
"I trust you" (Proverbs 3:5-6)
"You will never leave me nor forsake me" (Deuteronomy 31:8)
"You will provide my needs" (Philippians 4:19)
"You will direct my steps" (Proverbs 3:5-6)
"You are my comfort" (Psalm 23)
This Christmas, 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.