Devotional - Family Topics

Have Hope, Be Patient, and Pray

Friday, December 14, 2018

Scripture:  Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Romans 12:12 (NRSV)

Observation:  Rejoicing in hope. The three brief injunctions in this verse seem even more pointed when the word order of the Greek is retained: “In hope rejoicing, in tribulation enduring, in prayer persevering.” Paul has already commended the spirit of cheerfulness (v. 8). In ch. 5:2 he spoke of the believer’s rejoicing “in hope of the glory of God.” This Christian hope, which is the cause of such cheerfulness, has been explained in ch. 8:20–25. This hope enables the Christian to look beyond the darkness and trouble of the present moment to the things that are unseen and eternal (2 Cor. 4:17, 18). The fact that hope, like so many of the Christian virtues, springs from the basic virtue of love is indicated by 1 Cor. 13:7, love “hopeth all things.” [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 6. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (621). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]

Application:  Chapter 12 of the book of Romans is rich in guidance and instruction from the apostle Paul to the members of the church in Rome and to all of us.  Paul probably understood the coming challenges that the Christian church, and in particular the members of this church would face.  To prepare them for the upcoming persecution and the falling away of the faith, Paul tells them to rejoice, be patient, and pray.
The three bits of advice Paul wrote to the Roman believers can be so practical and helpful in marriage.  As good as a relationship may be, there will be ups and downs, there will be good and bad days, and there will be challenges that come to interrupt the peace and calm we enjoy.  Some may even come to the place where they feel it’s best to call it quits, separate, or even divorce.  They would rather take the “easy” exit than do the hard work of staying in their relationship and making it work.
Consider the three pieces of advice from Paul:
1. Rejoice in Hope.  Recent research shows that couples that report unhappiness in their relationship and who are considering divorce, when they choose to remain together, within five years report a higher level of satisfaction than they did during those days when they had considered ending their marriage.  What this tells us is that there is hope, if we only choose to remain together and fight for our marriage, so rejoice in that hope.
2. Be Patient in Suffering.  Patience, in the original Greek of the New Testament, is not simply sitting passively waiting for good things to happen.  Patience is more like the tenacity you need in the midst of strong winds, holding on with all your might to a light pole.  You don’t just sit there praying the winds will cease, you hang on for dear life.  Patience in the suffering that may come to your marriage means hanging on to the relationship until the dark days pass.
3. Persevere in Prayer.  During the darkest hours of our lives, whatever causes that darkness, we can’t cease from praying, we don’t give up praying, we don’t lose our hold on God’s hand.  It is during those most challenging days that we hang on to Him even more tenaciously.
Take these three words of Paul to heart, and see your relationship survive and thrive.

A Prayer You May Say:  Father God, bless us, during the challenging days, that we may see the hope beyond the darkness until we experience the sunshine of love and peace in our marriage.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.


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