“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer”– Romans 12:12
This simple statement, made by the Apostle Paul, came up on a daily devotional I received by email a few weeks ago and I hung onto it in order to turn it over in my mind.
The first part, “Rejoice in hope,” is easy for me. I am often optimistic to the point of naivete. I find that I cling to hope long after more realistic people have moved on.
I am a fervent believer that God wants us to experience joy. Not happiness at achieving a personal goal or acquiring a new possession, but true, unflinching, unquenchable, internal joy, and the source of that joy is hope.
The last part of the statement, “persevere in prayer,” is not difficult for me, either. I have a robust prayer life, especially when I am running. I have had many spirited conversations with God as I trudge through the 20-milers that precede a marathon.
Oh, sure, I need reminders sometimes, everyone does (I think). Sometimes my prayers are halfhearted, offhand, or selfish. Sometimes they are even absent, but then I hear something on the radio or I read something online that makes me diligent once again.
The middle part of the quote, “be patient in suffering,” is the toughest part for me. No one would ever accuse me of being patient, even under the best circumstances.
I hate pain. I am also not fond of suffering. As readers of this blog know, I do not suffer in silence. Whining about a running injury filled my posts for months, until I finally found relief, thanks to a miracle-working orthopedist.
Pain, suffering, and distress are human conditions. None of us escape them. We all bear the scars, both physical and emotional, of living life.
After reading this verse several times, pondering its deeper meaning, it finally hit me: “It’s not an accident all three of these commands are found in the same verse.” Rejoicing in hope and persevering in prayer are the tools we need to be patient in suffering. I may be slow, but I get there eventually.
I should get this framed and hang it up in my room.
*It is my plan to document the arrival of spring here in this corner of Southeastern Pennsylvania through the progression of blooming flowers. This is the fourth picture in the series. The flowers pictured above are Crocus (Crocus vernus). I found these while walking my dog Benji. Situated near a south-facing wall, they are the first yellow ones I have seen this spring.
I am linking with Cee’s FOTD Challenge, Welcome Heart for Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring with Him for Recharge Wednesday, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear, Reflections From Me for A Blogging Good Time, Random-osity for Little Things Thursdays, It’s a Small Town Life for Thankful Thursday, Crystal Storms for Heart Encouragement, Rachel Marie Lee, Knit by God’s Hand for Thankful Thursdays, Just a Second for Scripture and a Snapshot, A Spirit of Simplicity for Selah, and Worth Beyond Rubies.
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