“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
How are we “joyful in hope”? and “PATIENT in affliction”?? This is so messed up. Or…is it? I can pray. I can be VERY faithful in prayer – but the rest?? Ugh.
I guess when you break it down – ‘hope’ is something we can’t see yet – something like ‘faith’. It is easy to get discouraged when we have “short-sighted” vision – nothing to look forward to – nothing to hope for. If it is something good or exciting – then we are ‘joyful’ – just thinking about it, right? No one ‘hopes’ for bad things. When I think of the word ‘hope’ – I think of that word – much as a child would. Anticipating Christmas presents – or a fun vacation! Since there is so much that seems to hit us from all sides in this life as we grow up and we have reality blind side us – it seems that ‘hope’ is all we have to depend on. And all we have to look forward to.
I want to live my life – like a child does. Willing and able to let past offenses go. Willing to live for the moment without baggage – either self-imposed – or junk that others have thrown on me. With “wide-eyed” excitement and anticipation. Breathless at each new wonderful thing. Imagine that. What a wonderful world that would be. Where ‘hope’ and ‘joy’ – rule. Where each new day brings some great new delight.
I’m not sure I know how to be ‘patient in affliction’. I would say that goes entirely against my nature. But I’ve observed something about children. They are not very patient either. But since they do not ‘harbor a grudge’ – like we adults do – maybe that’s the secret. In becoming child-like – I think we can learn by observing their resilience. Although not patient by nature – they have a great ability to “forget” when hard times come. They can “let it go” so much easier than we can. And maybe this is what is meant by this verse. In letting go of something – and keeping my heart free during bad times – is the “key” to actually becoming more Christ-like. And in that – over time – I do become more patient. It takes great internal strength to forgive and let go – it produces character in me.
And as we are ‘faithful in prayer’ – we are part of that great process – being transformed daily into who we are supposed to be. Letting God speak directly to us – and realizing our great dependance on Him.
My prayer for you today, my friends – is this: that you would have ‘hope’ renewed inside of you – looking past the circumstances of today and straining toward that day. Become ‘joyful’ as you anticipate – learn patience in times of the bad thrown at you – and never give up on prayer. You are becoming each and every day. Never forget that. You are loved.