These two verses paint a picture of the abundance God desires to give us. Regardless of what you believe about God, all of us are seeking joy and peace. Think about it, those who don’t know Jesus are still looking for answers on how to be happy and how to be at peace. That’s why so many people are looking for the next promotion, biggest house, nicest car, and perfect family. These things are great, but we will never find the joy and peace that can only be found in life with Jesus.
let God replace the bad with good
Too often, we place our joy in our circumstances. When things are easy, we feel great and it’s easy to trust God. But when life starts getting difficult, we start to doubt that God is good. Our passage gives a metaphor of a garden with different trees growing. When we start to focus on God instead of our circumstances, our feelings of depression are uprooted and replaced with the joy of the Lord. Our feelings of anxiety are torn down and replaced with God’s peace. Being with God changes everything, and the people around us cannot help but notice. Our passage ends with the author saying that God’s joy and peace in our lives will be an “everlasting sign” to those around us. God’s goodness is on display through your joy.
a practicle step
For this passage to become a reality in your life, spend time with Jesus. This can look so many different ways because your relationship with Jesus is unique. Make room in your life outside of a church service to be with God. Some ways you can do this is by listening to worship music, being in nature and thinking about God, reading a small portion of scripture, praying for others, the list goes on. The point of all of this is to be with God. When you are with God, regardless of your circumstances, you will have the long-lasting joy and peace that comes from God.
I pray over each of you that you will experience the joy and peace that comes from God today. I pray that your life will be a picture of the truth that “in God’s presence there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). Amen
-Timothy del Risco