Romans 12:12-13 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
I had a moment of fear and panic a couple of days ago. To be honest it was more than a moment. With all that is going on, I think every one can relate to having moments of strength and moments that we allow our weakness, helplessness and fear to dominate our thoughts.
I had heard that a colleague from my husband’s work, who was on contractual work will be let go at the end of the month. She is devastated, her husband does not have a proper job at the moment and she has three kids. Hearing this made my husband and myself feel really low. Aware of the uncertainty of the length of the current situation adds to the worry. This then triggered conversations online with the others in the workplace of the uncertainty of anyone’s jobs. It began to get to us as the day went on and I began to realise that I was focusing on all that can go wrong. I took out my bible and the verse above was what I was led to.
Be joyful in hope – Reading this verse reminded me that my hope is in the Lord and that is the source of my joy, not allowing circumstances or what ifs to rob me of that. My hope in Him grounds me, strengthens me, fills me with peace and assures me of His sovereign control.
The first line of our Lord’s prayer is “Our Father in Heaven” – we need to remind ourselves that our life starts from that reality. He sits on the throne, the creator of you, me and all around us and he is not nervous and so I shouldn’t be either.
Patient in affliction – very applicable at the moment. One of the hardest things to learn and apply for me is patience and to be so in affliction is harder still. I remind myself that just as Jesus was in the boat with the disciples in the midst of the storm, he is right here with each one of us in the midst of this. Our ground may feel like it is being rocked just like the boat but He is our stable ground, our rock and our foundation. We hold strong because He has promised never to leave or forsake us.
And while we go through challenges, let us remember our purpose, to see the kingdom come. The second line in the Lord’s prayer is “Your kingdom come and your will be done” when we remember our purpose, it brings things into the right perspective and helps us to focus not on the difficulties or to look only inward at this time but to reach out to others and show them the love of Christ. It also reminds us that this life is not all that there is, we have so much to look forward to.
Faithful in prayer –. I want to look at Faithful in two ways ;
First, to be faithful in prayer. We, His people are the prayer warriors of our world. Scripture tells us to pray in all circumstances and to pray continuously. Let the intensity, earnestness, praise and request be forever reaching our Lord in Heaven.
The second way I want to look at being ‘Faithful in Prayer” is our prayer being ‘Faith-Full”. A lot of the times my prayers can be characterised by a weak hope more than faith, more like I sure hope that God will answer this.
In James 5:16 we read that “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Prayer connects me and you to the same God mentioned in scripture who heals the sick, raises the dead, chases out demons and provides manna in the dessert. Why then even though it says in scripture “Ask and it shall be given to you” (Mathew 7:7), we often find it difficult to do so with complete faith. A faith filled prayer is not powerful because of the one who prays but it is powerful because of the God whom we are praying to. Charles Spurgeon said “Prayer is the grandest power in the entire universe”.
So, be full of prayer and may your prayers be filled with faith.
As I read this verse and soaked in these three aspects for myself God continues to teach me to look not only at what I need but to others too. The next verse talks about sharing with the Lord’s people who are in need. As believers, we are mindful to not let our actions be selfish but to reach out a helping hand to those in physical need as well as spiritual need.
The last two words of this verse stumped me a bit. ‘Practice hospitality’. At first glance as I read it, I thought to myself surely not applicable at the moment practicing social distancing and all. But God clearly wanted me to ponder on this a bit more. We have been doing many things differently at this time and I thought what can practicing hospitality mean for us in this climate.
I looked up the meaning of hospitality and it said it is a relationship between a guest and a host. It is the seeing to someone’s needs or life essential such as food, drink and rest. And I thought, wow! we have grown so accustomed to thinking of hospitality as ‘entertaining’. But hospitality is so much more, it is being welcoming into our lives and forming a relationship between people followed with an intentional action to see to their needs.
For us today, let us reach out to others in whatever capacity we can and see in what ways we can practice hospitality by seeing to their ‘soul essentials’.
Soul Food – Encourage them through scripture, pray with them, point them to Jesus”
Soul drink – To find comfort in this trying time, remind them that Jesus is the living water, nothing else will satisfy.
Soul rest – Our security lies only in God and let us take shelter under His wings and trust not in our own skill or understanding but to rest in the shadow of the almighty.
May the Spirit of God’s peace reign over our hearts and minds. May we focus on God at all times. May we feed ourselves on His word and fill ourselves with the promises of His presence, protection and provision. May we encourage and uplift each other and wait on HIM as He guides each one of us through this time. Be filled with prayer and may our prayers be full of faith.