Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. – Romans 12:12
Years ago, I heard a sermon from Michael Youssef who described Paul’s verse above and presented another translation of this verse that resonated with me. The words are the same, but the order makes more sense in my mind.
“When you are persistent in prayer not only will you be able to endure the trials of life, but you will be able to rejoice in hope” (Romans 12:12 – Youssef translation).
“If you only pray when you’re in trouble, you’re in trouble.” – Anonymous
Trouble comes in a variety of ways. Outside of the 2020 Lockdowns, several friends and loved ones have died in the last ten months or so and death and its aftermath is definitely a trouble faced by all at one time or another. And then there’s interpersonal relationships or financial uncertainty or something else, right?
Trouble comes to all of us, but it is not the end. In the verse above, Paul acknowledges that the life of a Christ follower is not without trouble, but sandwiched around the idea of the inevitable trouble we all must face is three encouraging thoughts.
Confidence – Hebrews 11:1 says that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” No matter what we may face this day or during this period of time, we can confidently rest in the promise of something beyond this life. No matter what we face, it is only temporary.
Patience – When I am confident in the outcome, patience in trouble of the moment follows.
Persistence – While the first two thoughts might be thought of as a passive response to trouble, Paul’s admonishment to “keep on praying” speaks to the active regular practice of prayer.
Paul’s message to the Romans is the same to us. Confidence and patience in trouble (or not) is built on the foundation of prayer.