Joyful in Hope
Waiting. Ever been there? If you're human, I can guarantee you have. It's a fundamental part of the experience. When you're waiting for something, it can be so easy to focus on what you don't have quite yet. But I have good news for us waiting ones. We don't have to be discouraged. We can choose to respond in a much brighter way.
Romans 12:12, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
We are actually instructed to be joyful in hope! This makes me wonder, is joy something I can turn on and off? Is it not just a fleeting emotional experience? Where do I get joy?
Scrolling through Bible verses on joy (and the unavoidable ads for the latest action movie), I stumbled upon another Romans verse that keeps popping up in my life:
Romans 15:13, "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."
You could do a whole study on where joy comes from, but one simple truth I focus on today as I slurp the last of my milkshake-coffee, read this verse, and look out at the rolling mountains is that joy comes from God - from trusting Him - and it's not something you can store up for later. It's moment-by-moment. Here in the now.
Lately, I've gotten the sweetest revelations driving down back roads. And this morning, as I was doing just that, I was thinking about the privilege we have to love fully. In ease and mess.
There's something so beautiful about seeing every aspect of a life and choosing to love it in the midst of it all. Not just the pleasant parts, but those that are edgy and unresolved...and all the contradictions in between.
The truth is, life, people, and God are much more intricate than any mix of words could capture. Words fall flat when you try to describe the living, the breathing, the moving. We're serious and playful, bold and careful, predictable and spontaneous. And there's a certain intimacy that's developed when you encounter and embrace all these seemingly opposing qualities.
Joy comes from full embrace, whether we understand everything or not. Yes, please accept it all - the beautiful, the plain, even the ugly. But, most importantly, trust and celebrate the God who is faithfully good, consistently in love, through any and every part of the story. The light of His goodness eclipses any circumstance we travel through. Embrace Him above it all and watch your heart sing with joy.