Hope in Him
Learn this truth and you will learn the Christian's secret of a happy life. But first, it needs to be said that there is a huge difference between joy and happiness. It's not in the way they feel for both feel wonderful and besides, when you're happy you're full of joy. Who can tell them apart at that level? And it's not that there is anything "wrong" with happiness. God is the author of much of our happiness through the blessings He sends our way. He delights in making us happy, even when we (by unbelief) aren't able to take on the added joy of knowing Who just sent the blessing. No, happiness is a true blessing.
The trouble with happiness is that it is notoriously flighty. It springs to life when things "happen" as we like. We love that! However, when things happen that we don't like, happiness takes wings. Riding waves of happiness will send you up and down like a yo-yo. How can this be leveled out?
The joy Jesus gives has genuine staying power. Joy grows supernaturally out of the hope we have been given to believe. Our hope includes (but is not limited to) the belief that we have a God who loves and forgives us, who will never leave us or forsake us, and who is leading us all the way home to heaven. The joy that hope releases happens automatically within us whenever our hearts are beholding the unchanging reality of who our God is to us and who we are in Him.
Those who learn how to hold fast to their hope in Him will "not be disappointed."[i] This has nothing to do with seeing our desires come to pass, for "hope that is seen is not hope."[ii] It has everything to do with seeing Jesus, the Source of our hope and the Fulfillment of all our desires.
Since this far greater reality never changes, all of our hopes can be safely anchored in Him.[iii] Place your hope in this: Jesus will ultimately have His way with you and with the situation that concerns you. Cast your cares on Him, grab hold of one of His magnificent promises and take your joy back!
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 131:3 ESV
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV
Father, only You know how often I have been wounded by setting my heart and my hopes on things that never came to pass. I have put my hope in others, in myself, in things working out a certain way, but what heartache I could have been spared if I had only placed all of my hope in You! You want Your joy to be complete in me. You want my cup to overflow. What am I afraid of? I need to trust You with my heart and my hopes for there's no other place of safety. I choose by an act of my will to put all of my hope in You and Jesus, having Your way with me in all ways!
[i] Romans 10:11 WEB: For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed."
[ii] Romans 8:24: For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
[iii] Hebrews 6:19: We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.
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