“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12)
I think it’s a little ironic that back in January of 2020 I felt led to the words Trust & Rejoice. I’ve found it fun and encouraging to pick out a word for the year and see all the ways it shows up throughout the coming days and months. But I couldn’t pick between the two and finally decided that I should just have both of them, as a phrase for my year. A few months later, I won a leather Bible giveaway, and the sweet lady who hosted it gave me the option to custom engrave on the front. Instead of putting my name on it, I chose my phrase, “Trust & Rejoice”. And ever since, it’s been a constant reminder every time I pick up my Bible.
As crazy, hard and weird as 2020 was, I thought we could all use the reminder to trust & rejoice. Being patient in the hard times, rejoicing because of the hope that we have, and constantly being in prayer sometimes feels like a far-off, unattainable idea. The daily walk of our Christian lives is riddled with difficult moments of surrender, and wonderful moments of rejoicing. We have times of heavy grief and sadness, coupled with uncertainty and unknowns. We have moments of deep joy and gratefulness for the wonderful things our heavenly Father has done. And through it all, we can trust & rejoice. We have a wonderful hope that burns in our hearts and minds, but it’s so easy to lose sight of it in the glare of the world around us.
Trust, by Oxford dictionary definition, means to have a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something. And rejoice means to feel or show great delight or joy. As Christians, when we put the definition of those two together in the context of our Heavenly Father, it adds a whole new meaning. We can feel & show great delight & joy because we have firm belief in the reliability, truth, strength, and ability of our powerful Savior. Do you realize what an awesome tool and wonderful fact that is? Our joy and delight should run deep within our hearts, giving us joy that passes any human understanding, because of the firm belief we have in our God’s reliability. So even when our hearts are breaking and life feels overwhelming, shaky, and uncertain, there is a hope that anchors us steadily. We can rejoice!
So often in our daily routines, our emotions can get in the way of viewing the uncertainty in our lives the way Jesus calls us to. At least for me, life feels so much more balanced when I choose to focus on who my Savior is and how He can redeem my hurt and uncertainty. He tells me that I can abound (or overflow) with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). I’m told not to be anxious about anything, but to bring my requests to God through prayer, with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6). Jeremiah 17:7 tells us that we’re blessed when we put our trust in the Lord. And my Lord is an everlasting rock, that I can trust in forever (Isaiah 26:4)!
Friends, when we choose to focus on the reliability of our Jesus instead of the uncertainty of the world around us, we gain a perspective that is otherwise impossible to have. The future doesn’t always look exciting or inviting even! But when we choose to live our lives in the shadow of our Heavenly Father’s wings, there is an amount of certainty that we will never receive from anyone or anything else. In the words of Corrie ten Boom, “If you look at the world, you will be distressed. If you look within, you will be depressed. If you look at God, you will be at rest.” The only way that we will truly be at rest is by focusing our attention back on the only one who truly knows the future.
All of our lives, we will have uncertainty and trouble. But all of our lives, we will have a gracious Heavenly Father that we can go to for strength, knowing that the future is not uncertain to Him. Satan is in the business of striking fear and panic in our hearts. Jesus is here to give us hope and joy! As a Christian, we can look back at the faithfulness Jesus has shown to so many who’ve passed on before us. If we remember the good things He has done for us personally, we should never lose sight of the amazing truth that we are still serving the SAME God! He was faithful then, years and years ago, and He will absolutely be faithful in the coming months.
So practically speaking, how does trusting in Jesus, and rejoicing in hope look? We all live in unique and different circumstances and it can be hard to find joy and cling to hope in the mundane of life. But here’s a few things that I have found to be helpful.
Choose joy. Which I know, isn’t always fun or glamorous or even easy. But when we choose to look past the yuckiness of the kitchen floor that needs mopped, or the dirty laundry piled high, there is joy to be found. When we look past the big overwhelming things around us, Jesus is always faithful to give us both big and little moments of joy. Maybe it’s the laughter and chaos of the family dinner, or in the sunshine streaming through the window for a fleeting moment. Look for the joy in both the big and small parts of your day! Jesus is always faithful to supply them.
Remember and count your blessings. What do you have to be thankful for today, in this hour, in this moment? How has God blessed you in the big or small ways? What do you have right now that you’ve prayed for in the past? We’ve been blessed in so many unique ways, but we often get bogged down with all the things we wish were different that we forget to stop and be thankful for what we DO have.
Look for practical ways to bring joy and hope to others. Even when you feel like you’re struggling or wondering what the next best thing to do is, bringing joy to someone else is always refreshing. Some practical ways to do this might be to bake cookies for someone else, or write a note. Text a friend an encouraging word or a fun memory together that you’re thankful for.
Be mindful of where your focus is and what’s taking up your time. If we’re too busy focusing on what is happening in another persons life on Instagram, or following politics too closely, our hearts will be easily distracted from what really matters. We know that what we think about matters, but we often forget how big of an influence our thoughts have on our day to day lives. So when we make conscious decisions to focus our hearts and minds on Christ and His words, even if we feel lost or hopeless, it shifts our focus to heavenly things instead of earthly ones.
Do your own study on verses that reflect hope, rejoicing, trust, and peace. These are all relevant to our lives today and there are so many instances in the scriptures where Jesus gives us beautiful words and promises regarding these topics. Digging into God’s Word, and asking Him to lead us and guide our thoughts and studies is such a valuable prayer. He honors that and He is always faithful to continue to bless us and lead us! There is power in diving into the scriptures and looking to see what nuggets of truth stick out to us. Ask the Lord to direct your mind and heart and to show you what He wants you to learn in this season. Investment into your personal relationship with our Heavenly Father will never be worthless, but rather hold value for years and years to come.
As we look forward into a future that may seem cloudy and uncertain, let’s remember that we serve a God who knows what the future holds. I pray we have hearts and minds that are focusing on the joy and strength that Jesus gives instead of the uncertainty that’s ever abundant around us. Joy is possible, grace and peace flow abundantly from the throne of the Almighty! Friend, keep your eyes on the final goal and don’t be distracted by the weight of the things that surround us. While the world around us may be struck with fear and paralyzed by the uncertainty, we can be motivated by the truth that our God KNOWS and He is here with us! Trust that He holds us and will always take care of us. Rejoice in the hope and the joy that He gives. Friends, we’re heaven-bound!
Kait loves drinking coffee, exploring new places, making new friends, and deep conversations with people of all ages. You can often find her behind the desk in her little office, at home baking something, reading a book, or spending time with her family on their farm in Nebraska. She loves finding beauty and joy in the everyday moments of life and sharing it with others. Kait always enjoys making friends and connecting with others, so you’re welcome to reach out to her on Instagram at @_katie.burk_