“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Do you ever find it hard to know how to handle a situation?
Sometimes as a Christian, not only will I struggle with a problem, but I will also struggle with handling it the way that God would have me to. When I read this verse of Scripture it really spoke to my heart. I felt that God was telling me that this is how I should handle life and the struggles that it sends my way.
The whole Bible is full of direction for those who will seek it. I like to think of God’s Word as a spiritual road map. Romans 12 is a road map for Christians. It tells how one should act and not act. It gives guidelines by which a Christian should live.
This verse that I picked today is one that I really need to hide in my heart. When trouble comes, I want to remember how God would have me to respond. Let us take each part and break it down so that we can understand exactly what steps God would have us make.
The first step we should make is to rejoice in hope. What is hope? Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. It also means to expect with confidence. As Christians we have hope that others do not have. All throughout the Bible God gives us reason to hope. John 3:16 gives us the hope of salvation. Jeremiah 29:11 gives us hope that God has a plan for our lives. In John 14:3 we are given the hope of a home in Heaven. You see, God wants us, as Christians, to find joy in the hope that He has given us. God has not placed us on this earth to wander aimlessly until He decides that it is time for us to go. God wants us to live with the confidence that He has saved our souls, that He has a plan for our lives, and that He is preparing for us a place in Heaven. That, my friend, is a reason to rejoice in hope.
The second step is one that I personally struggle with. I think if we would all be honest with ourselves, we could agree that this rings true for most of us. We are told here in this part of the verse to be patient in tribulation. A little encouragement here is that we are not the only ones to ever face this problem. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10, tells us about a time when he had to be patient in tribulation. He talks about a thorn in the flesh that he prayed for God to remove. God’s answer to that prayer was not healing, but grace. Look at what God told Paul in verse 9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul gives us a great example of patience in tribulation here, because he goes on, in the end of verse 9 and in verse 10 to say: “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” Wow, what a response to tribulation! Let us remember that God has also made this same promise to us. Not always will our trials and tribulations be taken from us, but we have been promised God’s grace to get through whatever comes our way. Therefore, we can have patience in tribulation by having faith in God and trusting that His grace is sufficient.
The final step we are told to make is to be constant in prayer, or to continue in prayer. I believe this is vital for a Christian. Any relationship depends on communication, and our relationship with God is no different. In the Bible, Jesus sets the perfect example for us. I once heard a preacher say, “If Jesus, who was the Son of God, knew the importance of prayer while He was here on earth, how much more important should prayer be in our lives?” This statement is so true. Many different times in the Bible we see where Jesus took the time to pray to His Father. Jesus knew that while on this earth, He needed to communicate with His Father because He was facing the same trials and tribulations that we face. As Christians, we must realize the importance of constant communication with God. That does not mean staying on our knees twenty-four hours a day. It simply means keeping an open heart, and an open line of communication between ourselves and God so that He can speak to us when we need it and we can communicate with Him.
I pray this has been an encouragement to your heart today. As Christians, we often find ourselves searching for guidance. I believe this verse was meant for that reason. Today we have discovered three steps that we should take in order to maintain a healthy Christian life. Let us always remember to rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and remain in prayer.