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. (verses 13)
Oh, how we need hope.
Not the weak dishwater variety that disappoints more often than not, being based in wishful thinking. We say, “I hope so,” but doubt fills our mind because the prospects are tenuous, anything but guaranteed.
Rather, what we need is the strong, true biblical variety, a hope that is fully rooted in the guarantee of the Lord God Almighty himself. This hope is a future surety that spills backward into the present moment, guaranteed in Christ, strengthening our souls. “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2) – a statement looking forward to that future day. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) – a statement anchoring that future expectation in our present relationship with Jesus himself. Oh, how sure.
All of this is crucial if we’re not to get drowned in the reality of present difficulties and hardships. Without hope, we’d be swamped. But embracing hope, we (together with Paul), can confidently say, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
Oh, may hope increase.
It happens as the God of hope himself is at work in our lives. He fills us “with all joy and peace.” “Joy” is that deep abiding sense of well-being, like ocean depths beneath the surface storms, welling up in rejoicing at the Lord’s presence, his acceptance, and his compassionate love. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). “Peace,” in the Hebrew sense of “shalom,” is wholeness and completeness – “life in all its fullness” – that ultimately springs from the settled-ness of being in fully reconciled relationship with God. Both joy and peace come from the Lord’s hand, different aspects of the salvation he gives. As F.B. Meyer put it: “Joy is peace dancing. Peace is joy at rest.”
Paul prays that God may “fill” us with both. Imagine a glass filled with crystal clear water spilling over the rim, or a balloon filled with breath upon breath stretching to its full proportions, or a ravenous appetite filled with contentment after a hearty meal. Someone turns the tap, someone blows each breath, someone serves the meal. In our case, it’s the Lord himself. How good.
Our part is to “trust in him.” Even when things look bleak. Even when wishful thinking collapses under reality’s weight. Even when present sufferings loom. “Trust.” Embrace the sureness of God’s joy and peace.
All of this, then, leads to hope. Sure hope. Abundant hope. Indeed, it is our Lord’s intent that we “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
So yield to the Spirit’s work. Trust that this prayer will be answered. Receive the Lord’s joy and peace. Submit to his filling. And overflow with hope – hope in all its certainty – the sure hope that God himself bestows.
O God of hope, do this good work in me. I receive the filling of your joy and peace. Strengthen me to trust fully and deeply in you. And cause your hope to overflow within me by the power of your Holy Spirit. For Jesus’ glory. Amen.
Reflect: Where do you most need the intervention of hope at the moment? Deliberately place it in the Lord’s hands, entrusting it to him. Receive his joy and peace. Yield to the Spirit’s work.