Jeremiah 20:13 (NIV)
Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.
Romans 12:12 (NIV)
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
For the past few weeks I have been praying for Diane. She broke her ankle on a hike and is hobbling around on crutches or scooting around the house on a borrowed medical scooter. My prayers, however, have been a bit frustrating. To some extent I was nearly ready to give up; the answers seemed to be almost the opposite of what I was asking. Not only in relation to Diane’s health, but other issues as well I have not seen answers I was seeking.
These words, therefore, speak to me quite pointedly: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Joy, patience, and faithfulness are fruits of the Spirit which seem not to be exceedingly abundant in my life right now. But they conspire to bring me to a better place with God and with life itself.
Joy, patience, and faith go hand-in-hand. When I embrace God in faith, I focus on his favor, grace, love, and promises. That brings me joy, and a joyful heart is far more patient than a heart of unbelief and despair.
Just the other day I admitted to Diane that I was almost ready to stop praying for her to get better – it seemed the more I prayed the worse her condition was becoming. Saying that out loud, and hearing Diane’s answer helped me. She said, “Well then pray about something else.” I let go of my resentment, and discovered a peace I had not expected. The next day my prayer for her healing was answered; she showed me how she could walk a step or two even without crutches!
I know it doesn’t always work that way. I know that patience is sometimes synonymous with longsuffering. That would certainly be the case in regard to times of affliction. But I believe that God does rescue the lives of the needy. And I am delighted to sing his praise.