“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
-Romans 12:12 (NIV)
God always gives us exactly what we need, when we need it.
What does he ask from us in return? If Romans 12:12 is any indication, and I know it is, He’s basically asking for us things that benefit us. Let me say that once more in another way: He asks us for the things that are going to make us be better, feel better and live better.
That’s pretty amazing.
Think about it- Be joyful in hope.
You just worked your butt off on a certain project. Sure there were some things that felt tricky, but you gave it everything you had. Yea, you feel confident. . . Are you joyful in your hope?
Is there any other way to be? Of course there is. You could be riddled with anxiety. The doubts and second-guessing can be swarming. Who wants that for us? Not God!
That is why God is telling us Be joyful in hope. I just love that, it’s like an extra pat on the back.
Now this- patient in affliction.
I don’t want to be ‘afflicted’ with anything. The word itself throws up an immediate red flag. Let’s face it, our world is full of afflictions of all kinds.
Having patience? What is God asking? Patience is being able to withstand the storms of life and not becoming a victim. It’s holding on to who you really are, when you are at your worst, and knowing that God has your back. Its mining the lessons out from the darkness.
Is there any other way to be? Of course there is. People are swallowed up all the time by any number of afflictions. They allow afflictions to define them, and they lose sight.
God is guiding us to be patient in affliction. He is reminding us of where we came from. This is like chicken soup from Mom when you are not feeling well, a magical elixir.
Finally- faithful in prayer.
You know what it means to ask for something you really want versus asking for something that you just have to have? We all know the difference.
So God is telling us that if we really want something we have to be confident. We have to know our hearts, our reasons. Our intentions.
Is there any other way to be? Of course there is. We see it all the time. We can be haphazard in our prayer and sloppy with devotion. We can want something for all the wrong reasons. We can be asking for one thing but feeling another way.
When we are truly faithful in prayer, there is a deep confidence that cannot be fabricated. There is an ease and peace that is unlike anything we know.
We will be happy with the way things work out because we know God has our own best interests at heart. He sees and knows all and we trust that. We trust Him.
And we can get out of our own way. We can be free to do the work He has set out for us.
Guided. Loving. Fulfilled.