Hearing the spotted hyena laugh never fails to at least elicit a smile from me if not a laugh of my own! Their maniacal “laugh” can be heard when hyenas are agitated or showing aggression. One can especially hear it when there is a feeding frenzy. As the hyena is not certain when they will eat next, they gorge themselves whenever they can. No joy or happiness here. This is no laughing matter!
Today’s verse speaks of a deep seated joy that is accompanied with peace. Unlike happiness which depends on happenings, this joy comes from God through His Spirit (Gal. 5:22) Because of its divine Source, the result of being filled with this joy is an overflowing hope. However, it is through the conduit of trusting Him that believers experience this joy with peace. As we trust Him we are filled with a joy and peace that has little to do with our circumstances.
Our world is daily changing and with it, our plans as well. When things abruptly fall apart, so does my sense of well being. Tears, disappointment and even anger are my immediate reaction. But when I stop to consider God’s sovereignty in everything, I am reassured. I continue to be disappointed but at the same time I can take heart. The more I can manage to trust Him and His plan, the more I can experience this unexplainable joy. When my heart trusts Him then my heart can “leap for joy.” (Ps. 28:7) Circumstances do not need to defeat or define me.
Thank you Lord, that YOU are my hope. YOU are my peace. YOU are my joy.