Read: Romans 12:12
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
I do not know who said it, but consider this thought – “If you only pray when you’re in trouble, you’re in trouble.”
Trouble comes in a variety of ways. Right now I’m experiencing some interpersonal challenges of sorts on a couple of fronts. I have some friends who are living with chronic and devastating diseases. I know others who are looking for answers after the death of someone close to them.
Trouble comes to all of us, but it is not the end. In the verse above, Paul acknowledges that the life of a Christ-follower is not without trouble, but sandwiched around the idea of the inevitable trouble we all must face is three encouraging thoughts.
Confidence – Hebrews 11:1 says that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” No matter what we may face this day or during this period of time, we can confidently rest in the promise of something beyond this life. No matter what we face, it is only temporary.
Patience – When I am confident in the outcome, patience in trouble of the moment follows.
Persistence – While the first two thoughts might be thought of as a passive response to trouble, Paul’s admonishment to “keep on praying” speaks to the active regular practice of prayer.
During the National Day of Prayer, just this week, I heard several leaders challenge their audience to devote their lives to prayer. Some time ago, I heard one leader ask his listeners to describe their persistence for prayer in a single word. That’s an interesting question, isn’t it? For me, there have been intense times where I’ve been persistent and passionate in prayer and other times where I would describe my discipline as anemic and sporadic.
Paul’s message to the Romans is the same to us. Confidence and patience in trouble (or not) is built on the foundation of prayer.