Paul encouraged the church in Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” The verse has inspired my soul during the holidays and into the New Year.
“Rejoice in hope.” Paul reveals a vital connection between the attributes of joy and hope. Christians rejoice in the present because of our hope for the future. The Holy Spirit exhorts my soul with a two-word refrain, “Choose joy!” Christians possess an eternal perspective that enables us to claim Frederick Buechner’s reminder, “Resurrection means that the worst thing is never the last thing.”
“Be patient in tribulation.” A meme on a clergy site declared, ‘Being a pastor is easy. It’s like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire. You are on fire. And the committee for fire suppression needs a quorum!” Everyone faces troubles and trials. Patience recognizes that this too shall pass. In the interim, we listen for God’s voice in the midst of the storm and in the aftermath of the stillness.
“Be constant in prayer.” Constancy means spending specific times and all times in God’s presence. Devotional discipline sets aside daily times and places for divine appointments. However, sanctified spirits experience the Holy Spirit’s presence in every time and place.
Join me in committing Romans 12:12 to memory. Recite the verse as a devotional aid. Repeat the words as a breath prayer. Claim the passage every moment of the day and night.
Joy. Hope. Patience. Tribulation. Constancy. Prayer. Here, we find God, and God finds us.