Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection #31
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12 (NIV)
People are dealing with the pandemic in all sorts of ways. Some are far from healthy – alcohol and drug abuse is on the rise as are rates of obesity. According to a report from Public Health Ontario, “reported effects of the COVID-19 public health response so far have been decreased vaccination coverage, decreased movement behaviour, impacts on nutrition (e.g., low physical activity, poor diet, increased screen time, and sedentary behaviour) and on children’s mental health.”
On the other hand, there are those who are finding release through humour. Social networking sites are filled with memes poking fun at life during the pandemic. One of my favourites is, “My commute is now from my bed to my living room and I’m still late for work every day. I’m beginning to think I am the problem.” And for those who are self-isolating and haven’t left the house for 14 days: “My shoes probably think I died.”
Well, the Bible does say that “A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul.” (Proverbs 17:22). It is good to laugh at a good joke or just smile because something has tickled our funny bone. But when life gets serious, and humour just doesn’t work, where can we look to get us through?
The apostle Paul writes this in Romans 12:12: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I love when the Lord lays out practical advice. Based on his own experience with the living Christ, Paul begins by saying “be joyful in hope.” Max Lucado wrote “I choose joy… I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.” Hope rises as we invite Jesus to be Lord of our circumstance. Have you done so during this pandemic? Have you asked Jesus to take control over all you are having to deal with in these challenging days? When you do, you will find hope rising, and as Paul says here, joy will rise from the roots of hope. That joy is far more than a humourous meme that brightens your day. It is a deep joy the bubbles up from the hope you have in Christ.
Next, Paul commands us to be patient in affliction. This isn’t easy, in the flesh. Someone said “Patience is the quality you admire in the driver behind you but can’t stand in the driver in front of you.” As a fruit of the Spirit, patience is the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. As you invite Jesus to be Lord of the pandemic, you find the fruit called patience ripening in your life.
Finally, Paul commands us to be faithful in prayer. The pandemic has given us time to spend with the Lord Jesus. Have you taken advantage of that opportunity? God has been right there with you during this time. As you take time to reach out to him in prayer, you will discover just how close He has been through it all.
I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.