I keep a folder on my desktop with all of my columns in it. The reason behind this is so that I don’t repeat myself. I want to give you something new every month. I recently opened that folder and found a file titled “Romans 12:12”. I thought to myself, “I never wrote an article about Romans 12:12 and to be honest I don’t know what Romans 12:12 says.”
Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” This is all the file had in it. This one piece of scripture. Wow! How did I miss a chance to write about this verse? Then I realized why after I read the whole chapter, CONVICTION. See, Romans 12:9-21 gives us the marks of a true Christian, The traits a follower of Christ should exhibit. You should read this, but let’s focus on verse 12.
The first thing we are told is to, “Rejoice in hope”. That sounds easy to do. It’s not. Hope is trust. We have to fully place our trust in Christ. That means in every aspect of our lives: work, family, self and everything. We have to trust with all of that. I, as all people do, only let God handle certain things at certain times. It’s hard to hand everything to him. We want to control our own lives. Bad news, we can’t. We will mess it up every time. We just need to be obedient to this and hand it all to him, just like the hymn “I Surrender All.”
Secondly, we are told to, “be patient in tribulation.” Let’s look at the definition of tribulation. Merriam-Webster defines tribulation as, “distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution.” God wants me to be patient while I am in distress or suffering? Yes. How does that work? One word, TRUST. God wants us to fully trust in him.
The first two things we are told to do in this verse rely on us fully trusting God. He wants us to completely lean on Him, good times and bad. Back to the hymn “I Surrender All,” the first verse says this “All to Jesus I surrender All to Him I freely give I will ever love and trust Him In His presence daily live.” We have to do this daily. We have to place our trust in God daily. Jesus told us this in Luke 9:23. Right now you are asking yourself, “How do I do this daily?”
That brings us to the third part of this verse, “be constant in prayer.” In 1 Thessalonians we are told to, “pray without ceasing.” This does not mean we walk around ignore the world and those in it while we mutter prayers incessantly. I think this means that we are called to have an awareness that God is always with us and that he is actively engaged with our everyday thoughts and actions. We have to be in constant relation with God for the first two things to fully happen. We can’t just hope that all the pieces fall into place and everything works out. We also need to have a consistent prayer life. We need to talk with God daily.
Corrie Ten Boom said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” We know that God is constant and unchanging. God has this whole thing figured out. It will not do us any good to worry about anything. Trust is a hard thing to do, but we were never told that this journey would be easy.