Journal Entry // July 16, 2022
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (ESV)Romans 12:12
This morning was one of those Bible reading times where I came across a verse that made me completely stop everything else and simply focus on what I just read. Eleven simple words that pretty much sums up the antidote to my current malaise. I have been struggling for quite a while with a lot of self-doubt, a lot of worry, a lot of guilt, a lot of anger, a lot of fear, a lot of shame, a lot of despair. It’s like my mind is stuck in this rut that I simply cannot get out of and the same patterns keep occurring and weighing me down. I lose hope and depression sinks in. But this verse challenged me this morning and is a great reminder of the power of Christ in my life.
Rejoice in hope… Why am I losing hope? Jesus is my complete and faithful hope. My hope is secure. My hope is more secure than anything this world can offer. My hope has been guaranteed with visible proof. The resurrection of Jesus from the grave is the very proof that my hope is alive. Why do I lose hope? Simply because I take my eyes off Jesus and cast them onto worthless things that can never satisfy. I place my hope in the things of this world and wander away from the riches of God’s mercy and grace. Rejoice in hope… Rejoice in Jesus. There is no qualification to this. I am to be always rejoicing in hope!
Patient in tribulation… The implication of this phrase is that tribulation is a natural part of this life. If we are alive in this world and following Christ as faithful disciples, then there will be tribulation. There is no doubt about this. The people of God will face tribulation. If you’re not facing tribulation, then it is a good time to step back and evaluate your faith and where you are placing your hope. As I am in tribulation, adversity, struggle, and hardship there is only one answer from the Lord – patience. The adversity is there for a good and righteous purpose. It may seem the opposite. It may seem even evil, but the purposes of God are for the good of his children and the glorification of his name. So I need patience, holy patience. How can I have patience in adversity? Mainly because I am rejoicing in hope. I rejoice in the security of my future and this adversity is a means to draw me closer to Jesus in every way. So I don’t want to rush through this difficulty. I want to embrace this hardship with patience as I rejoice in hope.
Constant in prayer… This is the natural outworking of a life that is rejoicing in hope and patient in tribulation. Rejoicing and patience will lead me to prayer. My weakness being exposed and my frailty being on display leads me to better understand my dependence upon the Lord and my need for constant prayer and humility. I need to be constant in prayer because this will push me to rejoice in hope. I need to be constant in prayer because this will teach me to be patient in tribulation. Prayer is my refuge. Prayer is my refreshment. Prayer is my lifeline with Jesus. Being constant in prayer is the answer to all of my fears and worries and doubts. Constant in prayer is spending every moment of every day in the presence of my Savior. I am to experience this life not alone, but in constant fellowship with Jesus. He is with me, always.
This is such an encouragement to me at this time. It doesn’t mean it is easy, but it does mean that I am not alone in the journey. The enemy works hard to separate me from fellowship with Jesus and with other believers. The enemy wants me to retreat inward and isolate. Then let all this fear and shame and guilt drive me away from everyone, including Jesus. The enemy wants me to retreat to the false sense safety and security of my mind. Jesus calls me to be constant in prayer, to rejoice in hope, and to be patient in trials. I can only do this by having my mind focused on Christ and my heart engaged with him at all times. All of life is holy and to be lived in communion with the living Christ. He abides with me and I am to abide with him. Lord Jesus, make this true in my life.