Megan Evans, Women’s Ministry Director, LHBC

 Romans 15:13  (NLT)

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 Hope is something we all need every single day.  Hope brings us peace and joy. And, in the midst of trials and troubles, hope is what brings us that sense of quiet anticipation and confidence in the good we cannot see yet. The holidays, while joyful for many, can be especially hard for the lonely and hurting.  In these winter months, less hours of sunlight, financial strain, stress, and missing loved ones are common and can contribute to holiday blues. But it is comforting to know that regardless of our circumstances, we can grab hold of a trustworthy source of hope today.   

 Romans 15:13 answers our heart’s cry and reminds us that our source of hope is God Himself. Therefore, our hope is not determined by a situation or feelings, and we never need more than the power of the Almighty God.  It can be tempting to reach for temporary comforts that give us validation and peace of mind such as people, alcohol, shopping, or work, but Jesus Himself tells us that He gives us a kind of peace that the world can’t give.  So, our hearts don’t have to be troubled or afraid (John 14:27). 

 When we are full of hope, there is no room for worry, unrest, or fear.  Anytime feelings of hopelessness plague us, God’s Word (the sword of the spirit) is our defensive strategy (Ephesians 6:17).  Spending time in God’s Word daily teaches us to trust in God, and He fills us completely with His joy and peace.  Picture for a moment that you are filling a cup with water from the sink. Leave the water running and you will fill it to the brim–the cup is completely full. Then, leave the water running and that cup will begin to overflow and run down the sides.  The same is true when we turn to God. His Living Water is an endless supply of joy and peace that He wants to fill us with to the point that it spills out around us.  And then out of this overflow, the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance enables us to love and strengthen others. 

 To thrive in this life, we need more than wishful thinking or temporary numbing from problems and stress.  Hope is the anchor for our soul, and we can have great confidence as we hold on to it because it is strong and trustworthy (Hebrews 6:18-19).  The word “hope” is so casually used in today’s language. For example, we might “hope” the traffic isn’t bad on our way home from work or “hope” that we can make it to an event.  Biblical hope however, isn’t left to chance or maybes, but speaks instead of a steadfast assurance on which we can stand.  

 The strength of biblical hope is in God’s faithfulness.  It is the strength in our salvation. Every day we can “hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise” (Hebrews 10:23).  Today choose God as the source of your confident hope.  And in this Christmas season, share your overflow with those around you who might need hope and encouragement at this time of year. 

Father God, fill me with your joy and peace today. May the Holy Spirit give me boldness to speak of this confident hope to others as it overflows from my heart today. You are my hope and my anchor, and in every circumstance teach me to seek you and trust you with the good I can’t see yet.  In Jesus Name, Amen.  

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.