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

 

Filling things seems to be a gift that I possess. At least this is true with many of those places and things that you actually don’t want to overfill or to fill with the wrong items. For instance, my garage is loaded with things to the point that the cars that are intended to be inside it need to reside on the outside. The bookshelves in both of my offices are loaded to the point where books are laying on top of other books, and the sandwiches that I make need to be taped shut so that I can get them to my mouth without causing a landslide of tomatoes and pickles that is of epic proportions. However, as much as I may like to fill things to overflowing, the Lord seems to delight in doing this even more.

 

There is a very great difference in what God does and my actions. The filling that I do is frequently engaged in for personal reasons and might have a better result if I did the task differently. God has a plan for all that He does, and His purpose in filling His people is directed toward bringing life to each of us and the hope of eternity into this world. In Christ we have a hope that goes beyond the moment and is greater than the situation at hand. With Christ we are given the gift of a joy and a peace that come from the halls of Heaven and that settle deep within the soul so that they grant to us a perspective on life that brings Godly wisdom to the transactions of daily existence. This joy and peace remind us of the hope that is ours in Christ.

 

Still, God does not fill us with His presence so that our hope is focused solely on an eternal future. Instead, He fills us with His presence so that we can live in this world as people who know truth, share it boldly, and demonstrate the gift of hope in the face of the bleak and troubling vista that is a portrait of this world’s landscape. This is where God’s filling up resembles that overstuffed sandwich that I made, for He too fills us beyond our capacity to retain within. The hope that we have in Christ is bigger than the pain and the grief of this day, and the giver of that hope, Jesus Christ, seeks to grant that same joy and peace to others through us. So, through our loving engagement with people, the abundance of hope that Christ has poured into us can be poured out into their lives as well.

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