“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
As I read and reflected on this scripture today, I realized how much this verse makes sense. At first glance, it just seems like three different attitudes you should have in three different situations. The attitudes being joyful, patient, and faithful and the situations are hope, affliction, and prayer. After I read it a few times I realized these three situations are connected, maybe just in a different order.
Be Patient in Affliction:
Affliction is a painful situation whether it be physical, emotional, or because of a loss. Most often when someone is afflicted they call it a storm of life. If you can just imagine a storm in its real sense, when its raining, thundering and lightening, it’s a very scary moment. If you’re driving, you can’t really see, the wind may shake your car, etc. So as an analogy, a storm of life is much like that. The situation may have come out of nowhere, you don’t know whats going to happen next, you feel unstable and helpless in the middle of all these problems. But this verse says to be patient in your affliction. I know you’re thinking who in their right mind would or even could be patient in the midst of an uncomfortable situation? While this is what we are commanded to do, we have some tools to help us make it.
Be Faithful in Prayer:
Prayer is our way of communicating with God. So in the midst of this situation, be careful to stay in contact with God. Not to make sure He knows what you’re going through, but more so to ask Him for deliverance or even peace while you are struggling. We should always be praying, but it seems to be an instinct to pray in the midst of a situation when we need help. Jesus always prayed to God as he walked the earth, so if he even needed to pray, how much more do you think we need to pray? A lot of times I ask God to sustain me while I’m struggling, to give me strength to keep going. That prayer is your private conversation with God and no matter what you ask God for or to do, just continue to do it, faithfully. You should be just as faithful or more to prayer as you are to your favorite t.v. show or your work out plan. Once you’ve prayed your next step is to be joyful.
Be joyful in hope
Hope is what keeps many people going. Sometimes that’s all we have in certain situations. It keeps you looking forward to better days, which helps you not to give up on God in your situation. So trusting God gives you hope and somehow helps you to know that you won’t be in your situation forever. Your hope should give you joy as well. It doesn’t mean you have to act peachy when you know you are hurting inside, but it should cause you to be content with what you have. Joy allows you to take account for what you do have and not focus on what has been taken away or what you’ve lost. Joy and hope work together so that you can smile even though things may not be the best at the moment. It helps you to have a positive attitude and to not stress even when you are in a situation where you don’t know what will happen next.
So you see, being joyful and faithful will help you to be patient in your affliction. Whatever the situation, if you pray, be hopeful and patient, God will bring you through it. It’s hard but like anything else, it takes practice. And as crazy as it sounds, you have to go through something to understand this process. As much as we don’t like to hurt or suffer, those are the times we grow closer to God and understand His ability to take control of the situation and fix it for us.