Advent – 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
How simply beautiful is the phrase “God of hope”. The God who breathes life, speaks creation, and loves unceasingly, intensely, completely, faithfully, and without hesitation is our hope…the Source and the Giver.
I wonder if I even truly grasp the depth of hope’s meaning. I live like hope is just for better days, easier living, peaceful sleep, less stress, and true happiness.
I’m pretty confident that hope is a lot more than simply my circumstances being better or getting better or just ceasing to be difficult. I believe it’s a perspective, a focus on Him, an expectation that Jesus will fill me with all that I need.
To be filled with joy and peace sounds heavenly, but in order for that to happen I must trust in Him.
Deep, abiding trust doesn’t come easy for me…at least not anymore. Life has messed with me a bit on that front. But again, my focus seems to be more on my circumstances than on Jesus. Circumstances are sometimes deceivers.
Regardless of what I feel or experience, I need to trust in Him. Lean on Him. Let Him handle it all. Let go of my life and let Him have it. When I say, “I need to trust Him” it’s like me saying “I need to breathe.” It is imperative to my life…to living. It isn’t just some activity or practice that will show my devotion to God or my tremendously awesome Christian walk, it is what I need to live and love and be blessed.
I want to trust God radically.
I typed radically and thought, “Hmmm…is that the right word?” It didn’t seem to be until I looked up the definition. By radically, I mean “in a thorough or fundamental way; completely”.
I want to be like Mary who said yes to God even when faced with a daunting call that could have led to the end of her hope to be a wife, estrangement from her family, and even her death. This young girl didn’t shy away from the life God gave her, she answered simply, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38 NIV).
Carrying a baby out of wedlock in that time period should have assured her that she would lose her betrothal to Joseph, her parents would most likely disown her, she would be ostracized by her town, and very likely killed for committing adultery. That is what Mary said yes to…all those potential outcomes. And yet, she trusted God when it seemed like a crazy, dangerous, and scary thing to ask of her.
She didn’t ask for time to think about it. She didn’t run to seek counsel. She didn’t recognize the potential difficulties and ask for things to be a little bit different. She went full board into the fray and accepted God’s calling for her.
I like to think of myself as a problem-solver…or a potential problem-solver. I have ideas and plans. I desperately want to make things better, easier, and happier. Very rarely, if ever, do I truly solve anything. I wish I would learn to release my grip on things and hand it over to the Lord. Trust Him enough to let go. This morning I had the epiphany that I can talk with God about trust.
“Lord, what do you want me to do today to show that I trust you? What step can I take today to strengthen my walk of trusting You rather than myself?”
That verse says that the result of trusting Him is joy and peace and hope. If I do that life will no longer be my doing, my failing, my frustrations, or my plans…it will be trusting God and resting in the knowledge that He can handle it and definitely is a better problem-solver than me.
There will be joy if I can get it through my thick skull that God only ever and always does the very best thing, makes the very best plans, leads on the very best paths, opens the very best doors, and brings the very best into my life. If my perspective could change to be more like Mary’s…” I have heard what you have said. I want it to happen to me just like that” (EEB) there will be joy in my life
Releasing my grip on my life…all of it…even the things I think and feel and want and hope for…and letting God take it. And keep it. Do what He will with it…that is trust.
Woman, just trust, please!
I want to overflow with hope – not just have it, but have it spill out of me. Imagine what a blessing to those around me…particularly my children.
The Holy Spirit will enable my willing heart to overflow with hope and my life to be filled with joy and peace.
He will give me hope because He has given me Himself and He is my hope.
In my head, I have absolutely no doubt that God is completely trustworthy. But sometimes I live like He isn’t. I have this ridiculous continuous habit of attempting to handle it all, take care of things, make things better, and, maybe, also believing if I don’t do it then no one else will, including God.
And just look where that has gotten me… stressed out, confused, frustrated, emotional, and a little hopeless at times.
Letting God take control of things, listening to Him, seeking His divine intervention rather than my disastrous attempts to fix things, and believing that no matter what I can follow Him and trust that He is able and willing and loving and kind.
Like Mary, I want to humbly release control of my future to God and trust His calling no matter the path it takes.