Reflections

Sometimes it seems the big things do their best to disguise themselves as small, insignificant things. That way when you stumble across one and finally realize what it is, the thing gets immense satisfaction from the brightly lit light bulb banging you on the head.

Big things are sneaky.

Take this verse for example: Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.”  This verse is surrounded by other good ones so that it is easy to overlook, not to mention the fact that its familiarity probably dampens its stand-out-from-the-crowd-ability. Regardless, when I read this verse the other day I almost skipped right past it. I was several lines beyond (honestly not even thinking of what I was reading) before the words registered and I went back to read it again: Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.

Well, duh.

You see, there’s something else about big things: they’re big. So big, in fact, that it’s quite possible to lose yourself in them completely – floating along happily or drowning in misery, depending on the nature of the thing. They can obfuscate reality until it is only dim shadow of the truth you know. They can snatch up everything else in your life, stuff it into a box and wrap it with chains. When that happens you’re just stuck, staring disconsolately at the box and whining to yourself about that stupid, huge, insurmountable thing.

Hopefully I’m not being too vague : )

What I’m getting at here is that sometimes a big thing comes along out of the blue that takes over everything, but then another big thing comes along, this time masquerading as a small thing – like a Bible verse – and shines its great big light on the whole situation, bringing truth and perspective.

Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” This is merely a suggestion? Perhaps an exhortation? Maybe even a command. I see it as something God has called us (by us, I mean Me) to do, regardless of how big and ugly the thing is that has taken over our lives – if such a thing has happened. But what do we (again, talking about me here) do? Instead of remembering to rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction and be persistent in prayer, we get overwhelmed and frustrated and barely able to withstand the urge to scream. At least some of us do. So, to someone facing such a situation (like myself) I would say the following:

  1.  Rejoice in hope. No matter how dire the circumstances, there is always hope – in His word, in His promises, and in His faithfulness. Our hope is like an anchor for our souls, always there for us to cling to when a hurricane comes along to blow us away. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life that will not be derailed by loss or grief or anything else. There’s always hope. Always.
  2. Be patient in affliction. Your afflictions are not in vain. Affliction produces endurance, endurance leads to character, and character makes way for hope. The work he began in you will be brought to completion. He works all things – big, small, beautiful, ugly – for your good. Rejoice in the hope of His promises and be patient in affliction.
  3. Be persistent in prayer, the reasons for which are obvious and shouldn’t have to be restated. Just know that without it, all that whining you do is nothing more than a pity party…and pity parties are annoying.

I’ve been trying to make these postings less about me (and by me I mean you, but by you I mean me – well, now I’m just confused) and I hope I’ve done a better job of it. Thanks for reading : )

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