Our world is plagued with unrest amidst the global pandemic. While politicians are fighting, economies are shutting down, businesses are failing, people are getting sick, and many are dying. Each of those who have traveled to the other side have a name, a legacy, a family, and friends who mourn their loss. Even as vaccines make their way into our population, everyone is searching for hope, joy, and peace in the pandemonium, yet few are finding it.
The apostle Paul was acquainted with suffering and political unrest as he taught the gospel of Christ. He had been abandoned, flogged, beaten, and imprisoned. In this backdrop, he taught these powerful words: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with the hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Let’s examine the true meaning of hope, joy, and peace.
Hope is not wishful thinking as our Western culture defines it. Rather, hope is confident assurance. Regardless of our circumstances, we as believers can be confident of our future in Christ. Joy is not merely happiness, which comes from the same root word as happen, meaning “for the moment.” Instead, joy is an internal, ever-present, satisfaction of the heart when we fully surrender to Christ. It is an understanding that our heavenly Father’s purpose is to use every event in our lives to shape us to be more like Christ. Peace and reconciliation stem from the same word in Greek, eirene, which connotes two becoming one. When we commit our lives to Christ, He reconciles us with the Father and with one another, a portrait of the cross.
Notice Paul’s words, “as you trust in him.” The key that unlocks hope, joy, and peace in our lives is trust. When we place our faith in Christ, we overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit who ignites our lives on fire for God and draws others to the hope, joy, and peace discovered only in Him.
Begin each day by spending five minutes alone with God. In those moments, read a passage from the Bible and pray, asking your heavenly Father what He wants you to know, do, or change. Then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be that change by bringing His hope, joy, and peace to our lost and hurting world.