I’d say a devotional from Elizabeth based on hunting is a bit of a curve ball, but it’s a beautiful thing how the Lord can nudge us with truth through any situation. From responses to the posts and talking with friends, I get the feeling that many of us are going through a period of uncertainty. The unknown can cause discomfort and even pain, but every season has its purpose.
A verse that his been a staple for me in the past few months is Romans 12:12.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
At first glance Paul’s succinct instruction may seem like an impossible suggestion. Like an illusive ‘be happy, don’t worry’ that would be much easier to sing about than actually practice.
But Paul clumped those ideas together for a reason. Looking at the verse as a whole gives insight into how we can embrace the call to patience.
Matthew Henry’s concise commentary says “Those that rejoice in hope, are likely to be patient in tribulation. We should not be cold in the duty of prayer, nor soon weary of it.” Praying continually is related to our ability to be patient in trial and look forward to God’s promises. We can’t endure trouble if we don’t see a reason to fight or cry out to God in prayer.
In my Bible this section of Romans 12 is titled ‘Love.’ In the verses preceding 12:12, Paul calls us to a sincere love, to be devoted in brotherly love and to keep our spiritual zeal in serving the Lord. Trials are a part of life. They can depress and crush us if we lose sight of our hope in Jesus and get disconnected from the True source of strength. Or, they can be an opportunity to practice Love.
Early on in my ACL rehab I wrote ¨Romans 12:12¨ on my knee in permanent marker as an encouragement and reminder. Both of my physical therapists saw it the next day and I got to explain the verse and why I needed to remember it. It has opened the door for conversations about the Bible, which is answer to prayer and a source of hope. I still struggle in rejoicing through the slow post-surgery recuperation process, but God is helping me find contentment in his presence- wherever I may be.
Oh Father, you are all I need. You are everything to me, and for that reason I can rejoice at all times. You have a perfect plan for me, and for that I have hope. You are omnipotent, and for that I can trust in your timing and direction. The doors you open no man can shut, and the doors you close guide me to goodness and peace. You hear my prayers and respond to the cry of my heart. I rejoice in you. Joy to the Lord!