Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12).
There are certain verses that get read quickly, as if they sound good, resonate a bit in the heart, but otherwise don’t impact the Spirit within.
But there is something so much more than the label of “a nice verse” that should be applied to these ten words. As believers in Christ we are drawn to find the amazing possibility that comes from Hope through the Cross. We get to trust, we get to believe there is more, there is no place that will be so bad, so awful, so wretched, that makes us hopeless. Jesus on the Cross is everything for us. We can hope in the grace He offers, we can hope in the promise of Resurrection. We can hope in the redemption that comes from that brutal Cross.
Because of that hope we can find the ability to be patient in affliction through God’s amazing Grace. We can wait by the bedside of loved ones, trusting in the God who created the universe to answer our silent pleas for healing– this side of Heaven or the other. We can be patient while watching for a wayward child to find his or her way home.
The last part of these three commands is the one that is the most powerful. We through God’s amazing design, can be–are called to be– faithful in prayer. We may not be able to join with loved ones and friends across the country and around the world, but we can join them at the foot of the Cross, bringing our heart’s cry to God. We can trust that these prayers are heard, just as the incense that rose in the Temple, so too, do our prayers rise to Heaven’s Throne room. God hears us, we just need to be faithful in the praying.
God give us some of the deepest direction in the fewest words. We just need to slow down and read deeply. When we read deeply, we will be able to take in deeply the direction given by the One who loves us most.
We are called to be joyful in hope– because of the Hope we have found in Him.
We are called to be patient in affliction– because of the example Christ gave to us in His affliction. We can do it, with His help.
We are called to be faithful in prayer– because as a wise believer said, “Prayer doesn’t prepare us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work.” Our prayers have reached the hearts of the wayward, the lost, the hurting, the forgotten. They have reached Heaven and God has answered in uncountable ways we will never know this side of Heaven.
So, be joyful, be patient, and be faithful. He will help you to accomplish this and so much more.