Where is it joy and peace actually find the best resting place in our lives? The place where they can grow and be nurtured instead of being constantly at war with our anxiety and fears is really in the midst of our faith! If we consider this for just a moment, it makes sense - faith isn't the absence of doubt, but the trust in someone bigger than we are who will navigate us through the things we are about to face! All hope is in him, therefore, when we are struggling with whatever it is, we can count on his joy and peace coming to rest right smack-dab in the middle of our faith, dispelling the doubts and creating hope which is solidly grounded.
I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 VOICE)
Mom drinks tea, so we go through an abundance of tea bags over the course of the week. I put many of those tea leaves in the garden because they still have a great deal of "value" once they have served their purpose of giving her a few warm cups throughout the day. As I put that new bag into the hot water in the morning, I can observe the color of the water change. As a kid, mom taught me the water needed to be at a full boil before it could be poured into her cup - a proper cup of tea required boiling water to allow the tea to "steep". The steeping process is an extraction process which comes from being totally immersed and ultimate soaked with whatever one is steeping in!
Steep yourself in the right stuff and what is released is a richness not quite released any other way. An infused life is one which has been steeped in the right stuff! It has been transformed because of the immersion process, but also because the "heat" was sufficient to extract all the good stuff! Mom's little lesson in tea making may have seemed insignificant to some, but it all depended upon the temperature of the water. I live in Arizona, so we often make what some call "sun tea" to enjoy as iced tea on a hot afternoon. The bags are placed into cold water, placed out into the sun in the jar of water, and the sun is allowed to heat the water gently until the extraction process occurs. It is good tea, but there is a definite difference between tea made with boiling hot water and that which is made with cold water. There is a "clarity" to the one made with boiling water.
I know we don't always have things come to a boil in our lives, but as they do, God infuses our lives with his joy and peace if we allow him to be immersed in our faith. Most of the time our lives are like the sun tea - we have his joy and abundance inside of us, but it isn't until things begin to heat up that we see the evidence of it begin to transform us. Regardless of the "temperature" of things right now in our daily walk, we can count on this - in the midst of our faith, God's peace and joy reside. It may become more "visible" when we are feeling the "heat" in our day, but it has been there all the while. His peace and joy are transforming our lives because they are immersed into the very thing which will allow them to begin to change us - our faith. Faith is really a fancy word for trust - where we place our trust determines our faith. Place your faith in yourself and you will trust yourself for everything you have need of - but that may not work out very well for you. Place your faith in Christ alone and things will be perfect for the infusion of both an abundance of joy and peace. Just sayin!