“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
If you have what you hope for, then you no longer hope for it because you have it. You can only hope for what you do not yet have. Romans 12 teaches that we should be joyful in the time of hoping and not having. Hope looks forward with confident expectation in the fulfillment of what is hoped for. What is the source of this confidence? Faith. Faith is a belief that does not rely upon on logical proof or material evidence. It is based on the trust in God and the person of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes I am tested. Perhaps I’ve been working really hard and there is no end in sight. Or maybe I’ve been unjustly treated by someone. Exhaustion or offense tempts me to start doubting. I may not purposely be saying to God that I no longer trust in Him. But I may start to think negative thoughts like: “This isn’t fair.” “I’m tired.” “Why is this happening?” Doubt erodes joy because it pulls out from under me my foundation of faith.
I must be patient in affliction. Paul said that he considered his momentary afflictions to be nothing in comparison to the glories to be revealed. In the span of eternity, our lives here are momentary. Even though times may be tough, I should remind myself to be patient and keep my eyes on Christ.
Those times of testing are times to rebolster my efforts to be faithful in prayer. I should not try to find comfort during my times of trials in things like movies, games, and hanging out with friends. They might be convenient temporary distractions but they do nothing to truly sustain me through the testing. I need to go to God in prayer. I need to go to the lonely places like Jesus did to be with the Father. Even though Jesus was super busy with His ministry, He knew how crucially important it was to be faithful in prayer.
Lord Jesus, help me to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. I need Your help to keep my eyes on You. Let me be planted firmly on the Rock. Strengthen me so that my faith will no fail. Lord God, I confess my trust in You.