Being steadfast in troubled times

Being steadfast in troubled times

Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. – Romans 12:12

Romans 12:9-21


 9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

 17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Mother Teresa devoted her life to Christ and spent her service caring for the sick and poor of Calcutta. In 1979, she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. She was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 2016. She became known throughout the world as the face of love and care. She reached out and loved those living in dire conditions of disease and poverty. She never backed down or gave up her calling. She stood strong no matter what.

Mother Teresa was an ordinary woman who did extraordinary things. Her unswerving, triumphant empathy and compassion serve as a pattern to follow for every child of the King. Mother Teresa gives us a glimpse of the whys and hows that compelled her. 

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty – it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” “Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

“God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try” (Mother Teresa).

REFLECT & PRAY

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other” (Mother Teresa).

Father the upheavals and tribulations we face seem insurmountable. But with You nothing is impossible. Encourage us to stand tall and never surrender rejoicing in hope and persistent in prayer.

INSIGHT

The apostle Paul boiled it down to a simple formula: Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer (Romans 12:12).

Hope, endurance, and prayer are natural partners (Moo).

Rejoice in hope

Hope is the source of our joy. We are to develop the attitude of continually rejoicing. Our certain hope for the future should overcome concern for our present circumstances. Certain hope stimulates joy. The Greek word translated rejoice is chairo. Chairo could be translated be glad, be delighted, feel gratitude, or happiness. The Greek phrase is literally “rejoicing in hope.” It could rightfully be translated, “because you have hope, keep on being joyful” (UBS).

Gloom, doom, sadness, and fear are not intended and to be permanent residents in the life of a child of the King. However, they come calling. It is up to each of us, to send them away and not allow them to take up permanent residence.

Endure in suffering

We are to endure the struggles and vicissitudes of life. “We are to meet tribulation with triumphant courage” (Barclay). “This follows naturally from the former; our hope-inspired joy gives us the courage to hold up under the afflictions of this age” (Cottrell). The path of hope that the Father has provided, is strewn with tribulations and afflictions. The real world is like an obstacle course that must be overcome through perseverance.

The Greek word translated endure, persevere is hupomeno from hupo under and menoto remain. It does not connote passive putting up with things but rather an active, steadfast endurance. It means to stand one’s ground, hold out, endure in trouble, affliction, persecution” (BAGD). Hupomone is “unswerving constancy” (Barclay).

Hupomone is not simply the ability to bear things; it is the ability to turn them into greatness.” Hupomone is the quality which makes a child of the King able, not simply to suffer things, but to vanquish them (Barclay).

The great composer Beethoven became deaf before he wrote his masterpiece the 9th symphony. At its first performance, when he was finished conducting, he had to be turned around to see the ecstatic, jubilant response of the audience. Knowing he was going deaf, he said, “I will take fate by the throat; it will never bend me completely to its will” (Beethoven).

Persist in prayer

In the midst of our struggles or persecution, we are to stand firm in prayer. We are to never let up no matter what.

The Greek word translated be faithful, persist is proskartereo. Proskartereo means to pursue devotedly, to persist. When used in reference to prayer means “to continue steadfastly in, to persevere in, to persist in” prayer. “The idea is constant diligence, effort that never lets up, including confident waiting for results” (Cottrell).

One bulldog of a man was the epitome of persistence and determination. He inspired a nation to never give up no matter what.

By June 1940, most all of Europe was under the heel of Nazi domination. Only England stood alone to face the coming onslaught. On June 6, 1940, Winston Churchill spoke:

“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

“When we cease to pray, we rob ourselves of the strength of Almighty God. We should not be surprised when life collapses if we insist on living it alone” (Barclay).

¯\_()_/¯

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