Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Several years ago on three successive days I received a wonderful email and phone calls from three dear friends who had me on their hearts. Those contacts were beyond encouraging – they were tokens of kindness from the Lord. At that time I had been without a job since the end of October and my search hadn’t produced one yet. There had been a great job opportunity that I thought for sure was going to be mine, but the Lord had that door close. (As I later learned, God closing that door was a real gift to me!) In the ongoing job search I hadn’t been without hope but sometimes we flounder because the results seem to be in hiding somewhere.
The first of those 3 days was a very difficult day and later in that afternoon I received the first of these communications from a friend I’ve mentored and is like a son to us. WOW – what a blessing it was. Then the next morning another friend called because the Lord had put me on his heart for two days. We had been involved with Afghanistan together. The message and encouragement he spoke to me were priceless. Then the third day, while writing a devotional, a third friend called, concerned about us. He was a soon to graduate student at the college we had been with. Three days – three major touches from the Lord through friends.
Then there is the treasure contained in today’s verse – which so powerfully declares how we are to live no matter what is going on. I’m thrilled with the encouragement God has given me through friends. All of that just enhances my focus upon Him and the power of His Word. Our Lord gives us hope and enables us to be joyful in it.
Life is filled with trials and He enables us to develop patience (one of the fruit of the Spirit) in the midst of it. He teaches us to pray and through spending time with Him we want to pray more. On top of all that we learn that these concrete actions have an ever greater reality to them. They are specific expressions of our love for Him. We love our Lord by being joyful in hope. We love our Lord by being patient in affliction. We love our Lord by being faithful in prayer. And, each of these actions are things that we can grow in.
There are those around us who need to be encouraged. We need to ask the Lord to show them to us so that not only will they be encouraged by our contact, but also by this wonderful scripture. Help them remember the power of prayer and to see that they too can have joy and hope and patience in the midst of all they’re going through. God will provide us with the opportunities to share our faith as we live out these qualities each and every day. God wants to use us to show them Himself. We get to be the frame and He is the picture!