NOT THREE THINGS – BUT ONE
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
“Just what I need,” you might say. “Three more things to do when I’m hurting. I must rejoice, be patient, and remember to pray. Life is hard enough without putting more demands on me.”
To assume that God is putting demands on me is to miss the beauty and power of this verse. They aren’t three separate things, but one constant chain of eternal energy and empowerment. Here’s how.
Rejoice in hope. I will start the chain as prescribed. When things are hard and I’m ready to give up, I will stop and remember what’s ahead for me. Eternal life with nothing but joy. Seeing Jesus and living in the presence of His love. Wholeness of heart with no more fractures from the wounds from others. If I stop to remember what’s ahead I will automatically have what’s next.
Patience in tribulation. “I can make it because…..” will be the natural outcome of having made a mental list of what’s ahead for me. Knowing what’s at the finish line helps me endure and get a new blast of wind under my sails. But what happens when the wind dies down and weariness threatens to overtake me? I’m automatically go to what’s next.
Constantly go to God in prayer. “Help me! I’m tired again. I don’t know if I can go on. Encourage me, Lord.” And then He rises up to remind me of my hope in Him. New pictures of His power to redeem. New visions of heaven. New reminders of what abundant life look like. On the other side of His whispers of encouragement, I automatically go to what’s next.
I can rejoice in hope. And the cycle of continues.
God’s voice can be heard through the words of Paul. “Start the chain!” I know that when I do, it sets in motion my journey through the way of escape. Deep soul-weariness will begin to dissipate if I believe God that this is the pathway out of inertia.
So, I will rejoice. Rejoicing leads to a short supply of energy. When that wanes, I pray. Prayer leads to rejoicing. And so on.
What often seems like a burdensome command is only a mirage. When I step through the door of obedience, a new world of understanding opens up to me. I wonder why I couldn’t see it before. I had totally misunderstood the whole point. Experience is such a great teacher.
How quick I am to think You are unreasonable in what You ask of me. Forgive me. I forgot that You are the One who promised abundant life. When others only see pain, they have no idea the how rich I am in Spirit. Amen