By Brooke Holt
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
I confess I have been one of those Christians who assumed if I followed Jesus faithfully, he would make the way before me clear. I expected joy and blessing for my obedience, an easy path, and celebration from those around me. Wow – have I had quite the wake up call over the past couple of years.
My family responded when God seemed to be calling my husband to serve as bishop in the Diocese of Florida. He was elected so we moved, began the process for him to become bishop, changed my son’s school for his senior year, went through another election, and continued the process. The call was clear, but the path for us proved complicated and painful. I kept asking the Lord why we were enduring this trial and what we were to do in the process of such disappointment, hurt, and frustration.
Today’s reading offers part of the answer: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:2). God did not give me the answer I wanted. I wanted to hear about a coming breakthrough and victory, that the Lord was going to take down our enemies and put an end to our struggles. Instead, he taught me how to persevere in faith when life is unfair and challenging.
To rejoice in hope means I and you believe that no matter what happens in this world, we have eternity with the Lord. Eternally in his presence, we will forget every pain, and he will wipe away every tear in that time. Our temporary trials cannot compare to the glory awaiting us.
Exercising patience in tribulation is just tough! By nature, I am a doer; not someone who waits well, especially if it means waiting on the sidelines. Throughout the past two years, God has been teaching me to wait on him. During that waiting, I could choose to doubt, fear, and move away from God, or I could choose to trust, surrender, and press into him. I confess to doing both but can say the latter was the much better option!
Paul teaches us to be constant in prayer. For me, this meant not continually complaining to others but lifting my heart to the Lord. It meant asking him for daily strength and perspective. It also meant surrendering our process fully to him in prayer each day and often multiple times throughout the day. Learning to pray and surrender throughout each day was my most valuable lesson during our time of trial. I can always bring my heart to the Lord, broken or joyful, and always have an audience with him.
Jesus walked the way of Golgotha where he was nailed to the cross. As his disciple, I am called to pick up my cross and follow him. Why did I expect life to be easy? Well, because I am human and don’t like pain. Neither did Jesus. He still does not today. Thankfully, he has walked the road before us and stands ready to lead us to victory. On that road to victory, he calls you to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”.
What might the Lord be calling you to practice today? If your road has been hard, bring all your hurt and disappointment to the Lord; then ask him to help you in increase in hope, patience, and prayer. He will make the way – a better day is coming! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Come explore the grand story of God as the one who knows and loves his people. In one of the greatest love stories ever told, The Book of Exodus reveals God as Yahweh, the Great “I AM.” He is the transcendent, all-powerful creator of all things who defeated the greatest powers of the earth. This same God would have his people know and love him in an intimate and personal way. The Great “I AM” – A Study of the Book of Exodus is a 9-week study consisting of a small group study guide combined with weekly video teachings. Come and meet The Great “I AM”.
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