Romans 12:12, “12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
The picture you see above is the picture of the dashboard on my 2000 Honda Civic, which I drive back and forth from home to work 5 days a week. You can see that last week I crossed the threshold of 300,000 miles on my car. All I could say was, “Wow!”. Two emotions hit me when I saw my car roll over to that mark of 300,000. First thought, “Lord, thank you for allowing this car to go this far.”. Second thought, “Lord, please let this car go another 300,000.”. After thinking about this for a while, the hard work and longevity of my cars engine reminded me of how I should persevere as Christian.
I thought about the words that Paul penned to the church at Rome in Romans 12:12 as he said, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”. You see, the church had faced many tribulations and problems, but Paul was encouraging them in their perseverance of walking as children of God.
This time of year can be difficult for many people, and for many different reasons. Christians are no different, and have no special barrier that keeps them from experiencing different trials, tribulations, and issues that can bring a wide range of emotions and sometimes even depression.
Today, I think about some who have loved ones that are very ill right now with medical issues. I think about others in my life who are struggling to buy any gifts for their children at Christmas time. Others I know will eat, but it will not be a buffet of traditional fixings like many of us experience. It will be more like a can of condensed soup and maybe some crackers. Some I know will spend this time of year all alone with no one to visit them. For those people, they may even experience a deeper level of depression. The fact is, I realize in my own life how blessed I am, and how tough some people really have it. That toughness is magnified as we approach the Christmas and New Years season.
I want to remind us all, that the love, fellowship, and grace of our Lord Jesus is enough to sustain us. It is enough to help us. It is enough to fulfill us. It is enough to change us. It is enough to keep us going.
At certain points in time I regularly change the oil and do maintenance on my car. Oil, oil filter, and all of the fluids in my car are vital to it continuing to work properly and keep going. You can see that these things have been vital to the life of my car, and my car has sustained life and kept going. The love, fellowship, and grace of our Lord Jesus is of far greater value to the Christian than even oil is to a car. These things that we have in Jesus are vital to us sustaining a rich, healthy, virtuous walk as God’s children.
Look what Paul says that we should continue in EVERYDAY. Rejoice in hope. We are able to joy in our hope. Simply put, we know that this earth is not the end result for us. Whatever we are going through or facing today is not the finale. This is not our home. Our home is reserved with Jesus in heaven. That gives us real, authentic hope. That is a real cause for joy – not happiness which is an emotion. We are able to be patient when things are not going well, or times really get tough in this world. It’s called being patient in tribulation. It’s not fun. It’s not comfortable, but we are able to be patient and rest in the arms of the One who holds us up – Jesus. We are able to be constant in prayer. As God’s children we are to keep active communication in our relationship with God through a constant state of prayer. This constant state of prayer is to be all the time – not just when times are tough. Our prayer life helps us to get God’s perspective on the difficulties of life instead of seeing things from our own perspective. It makes a BIG difference.
Paul shares that these three things in verse 12 are the keys to perseverance no matter what comes our way. It’s always a comfort to know that we actually can have perseverance in and through this life – it comes through a close relationship with Jesus Christ!
So, no matter what you are facing today my encouragement to you is this – CONTINUE TO GO, and do not give up!