Hope Patience & Prayer
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
– Romans 12:12
When reading scripture and you come across a list of something–some qualities, actions, warnings, etc–do you ever stop and try and think through how the things in that list may be connected to each other?
This happened to me recently when reading Romans 12:12. Here Paul lists three actions that he admonishes us to do. To have hope, be patient, and to pray. My first thought was to simply remind myself to be more hopeful, be more patient, and pray more and move on to the next verse. However, as I thought more about these three, a connection started to emerge that really started to make the scripture take on a richer meaning and point me straight to Christ, rather than my own effort to do these things better.
I began to see that these three commands are grouped together in this sentence and in this order for a reason. Take a moment with me and think through this and let’s discover the relationship between them, and how they draw us to Jesus.
Rejoice in Hope
What is hope? In our culture, hope is a wishful expectation. I hope my team wins on Saturday. I hope my wife likes this gift I got her. I hope the client approves the project’s budget. We hope for a lot of things. But that is not how the Bible uses the word hope.
The hope we find in scripture is a certainty. A hope in something because it will happen, rather than possibly happen. It is that guarantee that makes it worthy of our hope, because it will NOT fail. And there is only one thing that will never fail and that is our God!
Only his word, his promises, and his faithfulness are worthy of our hope because they come from the One we can look at with certainty. He will not fail, so his plans will not fail, so neither will our hope in them!
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6
We can hope in Christ’s work on the cross to provide forgiveness for our sins and save us from God’s wrath, we can hope in his power to overcome our struggles with sin in this life, and we can hope in his return to set us free from sin forever with him in heaven. We hope in the faithfulness of God, his promises, his provision, in his character and nature. We hope in him! He gives the type of hope worth rejoicing in.
Patient in Tribulation
Now, how does that kind of hope bring patience in tribulation? Well, when you hope in Christ and know who he is and what his word says, and find yourself rejoicing in his faithfulness, it will naturally produce greater patience during suffering and trails. As you remember him and his word, you will be strengthened to endure knowing that there is something secure, unshakable, unmovable, that your hope is in. It is in God, and he will not disappoint.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:1-5
A hope that is not fulfilled is a hope that will put you to shame. Our hope in God will never put us to shame because he will never fail!
Consistent in Prayer
When you see Christ as your only hope, and you experience him meeting your needs through suffering, you will keep coming back to him.
Think about this, when your car needs gas, where do you go? The gas station. When you are hungry, where do you go? To the kitchen or a restaurant. Why do you go to those places? Because you know they have what will meet your need. You are hopeful that you will find gas at a gas station or food in the kitchen.
So where do you go when you need patience, endurance, and hope for a dark time? You go where you receive it. You go to the one who will not fail to give it. You go to Christ!
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
When you start to rejoice in hope, become patient in tribulation, it is going to be connected to being consistent in prayer.
So ask yourself, am I consistent in prayer, am I patient in tribulation? If not, it may because you don’t rejoice in hope. And if you don’t rejoice in hope, it may be because you are hoping in things that continually disappoint and put you to shame. So start putting your hope the one who will never fail, Jesus Christ!
Sunday Reflections are short articles that share thoughts from weekly Bible reading, devotions, sermons, or times of worship. Find more of them here.