Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
In any walk of life, there will be times of great blessing and times of great difficulty. There will be times when you feel full of joy and there will be times when you may feel quite desperate.
The book of Romans was written against the background of darkening skies for Christian believers in Rome. Nero had come to power, and no Christian would have chosen him as their emperor. Evil was on the rise, and Paul says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (12:21). The question is how? How are we to overcome evil with good?
The place to begin is love. “Let love be genuine” (12:9). Then God calls us to engagement. “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord” (12:11). Thirdly, God calls us to tenacity—sticking at it, persevering over the long haul. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (12:12). As long as you can find a reason to hope, be joyful. As long as you experience pain, hold on. As long as the door of prayer is open to you, use it.
Remember, Paul says this to Christians who, just a few years after receiving this letter, would endure a persecution in which some of them would be thrown to the lions and others would be burned to death in Nero’s garden.
Can you think of some reasons for hope? Are you experiencing pain? Is the door of prayer open to you?