Between traveling and Ron having pneumonia, the usual read-through-the-Bible devotional for today did not get written. I am still going to try to write it, and when I do, I’ll post it here. But until then, here’s some thoughts on scripture for today.
I recently read this verse while on vacation, just a couple of days before Ron was diagnosed with pneumonia. I looked up the key words in the original Greek: joyful, hope, patient, affliction, faithful, and prayer. Here is what I came up with. Joyful means to be cheerful; calmly happy or well-off. Hope is to anticipate with pleasure; expectation, and confidence.
So to be joyful in hope means to hold to a confident expectation and let that expectation bring forth joy in your heart. What am I to confidently expect? I think I am to expect God to work and move even when things look dismal. I am not to lose hope, but to cling to it. Hope means that there will be an end somewhere and that God will see me through. He may not necessarily fly in like Superman with a big red cape and rescue me, but he will not let the trial overtake me.
The second phrase of this verse says to be patient in affliction. The word patient means to stay under or remain. Figuratively speaking it means to undergo, bear trials, to have fortitude and to persevere. It means to abide, endure patiently or suffer. The word translated affliction can also mean pressure, anguish, burden, persecution, tribulation, or trouble. So, what does be patient in affliction mean to me? It means to hang in there with patience, not with griping, groaning, or complaining, but with quiet endurance. Why? Because I have hope! Remember the first part of the verse: be joyful in hope.
Let’s move on to the third phrase: faithful in prayer. Faithful means to be earnest towards; to persevere, be constantly diligent. As I hold to hope and endure the hardship, I am to lean on God through prayer. It’s not through my own strength that I am called to patiently endure, but it’s through his. Prayer is not optional; it’s mandatory.
When someone tells me I’m a strong woman, I usually think, “No, I’m not strong. God is strong through me.” It isn’t me that gets me through. It isn’t some super strength that flashes through my fingers like Spiderman’s web. It’s God power! He is the one that girds me up and helps me endure. He is the one that is working to bring beauty out of trials and struggles.
How about you? What trials are you facing? Ask God today to help you to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. He will gird you up. Trust me. He does it for me daily.