I was buying some Christmas plates at Wal Mart the other day that read Joy, Peace and Hope, and as I stood at the register, I watched the prices ring up on the screen. "joy", "peace", "hope"...$3.00.
It got me thinking on the way home. How many people desperately wish everyday that they could go to a store and pick these gifts up? I know I have had many times in my life when I would have given my last dime to buy a little peace, joy and hope.
You know the lines would be out the door.
"I'll take some joy please....because truth be told, my heart feels very flat lately. laughter is hard to come by. everywhere i look, it looks a mess. i'm tired of pretending."
"Do you have any hope left? I need some quick. I am sinking in a hole of despair. depression. pain. I am sure that things can't possibly change for me, for others, for the hurt we have carried! I'll take even a small glimmer please...I just need something to hold on to. "
"Peace?? I'll take all you have. I am stressed out, desperately dry, too busy to see straight, angry and tired....and it's Christmas for heaven's sakes!!"
The truth of the matter is this. Though I do love me a good Wal Mart with all their varied selections, they can't supply what our hearts need most desperately. Only God has that, in a store that is never on backorder.
I find it interesting that often in my own life I keep waiting for God to remove the circumstance that is so difficult....so I can have peace. Or, take away the pain of that relationship....so I can have joy. And, change that desperately needy situation...so I can finally have some hope!
Actually, God allows our circumstances to be difficult, purposefully difficult, so He can be the Calm in our storm. How do we appreciate His calm, without knowing the fear of the storm? We want peace in our trial, and we think that means waiting until the trial is over. God says, I am Peace...a Peace that passes your understanding. You can have My peace right now, in the midst.
He promises that we can have abundant joy...full and overflowing. Bubbling over. Not because all is well all around us, but because of Who He is inside of us. His joy is real! When we remind ourselves that this temporary life, with all of it's painful moments, is but a vapor...our fullness of joy comes from knowing that this is not all there is. Our Home awaits...a Home with no more pain, no more crying.
How about hope? I am pretty sure this is the one that would sell out the soonest. For there is not one of us who doesn't carry a desperate need that needs the breath of His hope to remind our hearts that He sees, He is at work, He can be trusted, He is able, His promises are true, and nothing is impossible for Him. God's hope is the only real hope there is and He will never say to your situation...Wow, I'm not sure about that one? He is HOPE...no matter what.
So, in the busyness of a season frantic with shopping, parties, presents, all on top of the stuff we were already dealing with....go to the One who can offer you true joy, abundant and sweet. true peace...so that your hearts will not be troubled. true hope...He is aware of what concerns you today.
Romans 15:13, "May the GOD OF HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE, as you trust in Him..may you overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit."