Jan 25, 2023
When you're having a bad day, a run-in with an immensely cheerful person doesn't always turn that frown upside down, does it? Commiserating with someone else though, a word literally defined by two or more people wallowing in misery together, that can be a balm to an anxious and worried mind, sometimes. The relief though is temporary.
Romans 12:12 says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
The Apostle Paul was talking about more than mere cheerfulness in his letter to the Christian believers of Rome. Nowhere in the Bible does the Lord command us thou shalt always be chipper. But these wise words from Paul remind us to think before we sink. No matter what hardships we face, our hope is found in Jesus Christ. And this hope is an infinite well of joy we can turn to in times of trouble.
Paul also reminds believers to be patient no matter what befalls us. Paul was a respected missionary, even honored and admired by powerful officials of his day who didn't share his Christian beliefs. Despite his good standing, for a period of two years he was in prison, literally chained and under constant guard. And from this depth of experience, he's able to tell others to be patient in affliction.
Whether our chains are literal or figurative in nature, the trials we face can mold our character and build our patience if we choose to let them.
The most important part of Paul's message in this verse is the reminder to be faithful in prayer. God is worthy of all honor and praise, but He also knows us, understands our weaknesses, and loves us anyway.
On the days life feels too difficult to approach the Lord with a smile on our faces and joy in our hearts, he still wants to hear from us. Prayer's not a sometimes thing. It's an all-the-time practice that grows our faith, strengthens our relationship with God, and changes our lives. So be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.
Lord, you are the source of all our hope, the teacher of patience, and the one who listens to every prayer. Help us to choose joy over despair, patience over exasperation, and to pray faithfully. Sometimes fear and frustration threaten to overwhelm us, but you are near. And we pray you will turn our hearts to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.