As we live in this fallen world, we encounter all kinds of sinfulness and its effects, both within and without. If we are not mindful, we lose hope as we suffer difficulties and trials.
If we lose hope, we quit praying, thinking there is no use. And if we stop praying, we are not entering into the presence of the only One who can help us.
It is mission critical, if we are to go through each season faithfully and fruitfully (and we can), that we pay attention to Paul’s admonition in Romans 12. We must realize that these words are there for us at just such times so that we can maintain the right posture as we face our various trials.
In a long list of reminders, the Spirit penned these three admonitions through Paul:
Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer (Romans 12:12 NASB).
Rejoicing in Hope
The whole book of Romans reminds us of the human experience—the bad and the good—and how it affects us. But the climax of the book is chapter 8. We see our freedom from sin in the first half of the chapter and God’s glorious work on our behalf in all things in the last.
We are also reminded of the soon coming of a new world in which all is made right. We have every reason to rejoice, even though we groan and long for the full redemption of our bodies in eternity (v. 23).
These facts are real for the believer. We should not just have hope, but we should spend our time rejoicing, being joyful in the absolute confidence of all that God has and will bring to us, both now and forever.
It is this hope that is an anchor for our souls, keeping us stable in the violent tossing of temporary storms.
Persevering in Tribulation
Trials are real, and painful. But the believer has things that no one else has: the sufficient grace of God, the presence of the Spirit, the prayers of the saints.
God says (and He should know) that we have all we need to make it through any tribulation. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, knowing that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him. Nothing that is happening to us can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
So, our posture in trials is to go on, relying each day on the promises, the provision, the purposes, and the power of God. The saints of past ages have made it through untold problems and persecutions, and so can we.
Devoted to Prayer
We must also keep praying. It is our tendency in times of trials to give up on God; it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Our present sight is overwhelmed by the magnitude of our difficulties.
But God is there, guiding us carefully through the maze of this life and leading us into His image and His glory.
Trials have a purpose, and it is only through prayer in His presence that we can maintain a true perspective of what is really happening. Only there we realize it is momentary, light affliction which is producing an eternal weight of glory, far beyond all comparison.
Prayer is not merely a vehicle to “get things” from God. It is entering into His presence, shutting the door and seeing HIM … and that daily, hourly view makes all the difference.
Are you in a time of peaceful circumstances or right in the middle of the storm? Regardless, our posture, if we are to live well, should be the same—rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.