Thursday, January 07, 2010

Pondering 12:12

I'm rather crabbily considering Romans 12:12 today "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

The verse started running through my head late last night as I was turning out the lights to sleep.  I made a mental note of it, sensing it's importance, and fell asleep.

A few friends have shared stories with me of powerful encounters they've had with Jesus in the last few days. "The Weight of Glory" kind of moments, and I was mentally wrestling through the balance of being overjoyed for my friends and their moments of encounter and healing, and jealous, because I'm tired and longing, and life has felt dry in some ways the last little while.  Not bad, but dry - that longing for something more and deeper that comes at times.  That longing to more tangibly encounter Jesus.

I woke again this morning with the verse still underlaying my thoughts, playing on repeat through my conciousness, forcing me to pay attention.  Making me wonder if the time and consideration I've given to a "theme" for the year is playing out.

Joyful in hope.  I can do that.  Two of my favorite words of all-time appear in that statement.  The quest for joy has been a definining one this past year.  And hope, well, it's such a "hopeful" word!  It's life-giving to know that there is still hope.  Through the many years I struggled with depression I knew deeply what it was to be hopeless.  Each day that I wake up without that overwhelming darkness is truly a gift for me, even years after being healed.  Joyful in hope.  Sure.

Patient in affliction.  This one makes me cringe.  I mean, I can do it, but I've been through two really rough, nearly hellish years in a row, and I'd rather not have any more affliction.  And, to be really honest, if I've learned anything, it's that it sure seems that God loves to answer prayers like this.  I picture his mental dialogue going something like "She wants to be patient in affliction.  Not many people ask for that!  Only one way to develop it too..."

Faithful in prayer.  If there is a statement in scripture that I would like to have as a defining one for me life, it is this - that I am faithful in prayer.  A year ago I made a "be relentless" list of five things I was going to talk to God about because of the growing conviction that I was willing to trust him and come to him with the needs of others, but rarely addressed my own needs with him.  I had a varying degree of success with remembering to talk with Jesus about those things over the course of the year, and I was thinking again yesterday about the need to be faithful in coming to Jesus with my own needs.    Somehow, as I've been pondering "faithful in prayer" this morning, I think there is a balance in that - the ongoing knowledge that I am often called to pray for others, but also the willingness to really trust God with my own heart and needs as well. 

I cringe a little, too, at how closely "faithful in prayer" seems to be tied to "patient in affliction".  I'll admit that these brutally hard years have done much for my prayer life, but like I said, I'd rather that they not be the story of the rest of my life.  I'd kind of like a new year filled with joy and miracles and newness.

Joyful in hope.  Patient in affliction.  Faithful in prayer.

Seems there is much that these words are speaking to my heart right now.  It will be interesting, I think, to see where this all goes.