Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.—ROMANS 12:12 NIV
Did Paul get the cart before the horse here? No. But sometimes it helps to rearrange the words and ideas for a clearer look. We could paraphrase this verse as, “When we are faithful (and fervent) in prayer, we will become more joyful and patient in affliction.”
As caregivers, it’s easy to become so focused on particular situations or crises that we lose sight of God’s ultimate purpose for us and the person in our charge. We want to finish our tasks, return to our own agendas, and move on. But in His love, God keeps drawing our eyes and hearts back to a better destiny, a journey of the soul, a journey home.
Isn’t home a beautiful word? It certainly is for God’s children, who Paul wrote to in Romans. Throughout his letter, he explains how Christians can, and do, reside in God’s family by Christ’s finished work on the cross. Then he calls them to abide in this family as faithful and fruitful sons and daughters.
Since affliction will come, he exhorts us all to faithful prayer, which always draws believers back to a sure hope—back to a trust in God’s love and provision until the journey’s end.