I honestly have such a hard time putting “rejoicing” and “hoping” together. Rejoicing comes easy for me. I have been given a generally positive, spirited soul. I see the good in everyone and everything, sometimes annoyingly so. To say that I am idealistic is an understatement. I just generally believe the best in all situations. But somehow, I have an incredibly hard time with hope. It’s scary to hope. It requires a vulnerability that I’m incredibly resistant to. It requires me to acknowledge what I want. Which in turn requires me to acknowledge the possibility of not getting that. It’s confusing and hard and easier to just feel like what I have is what I have, and I will do my best with it. So to say that I should “rejoice in hope” is a true challenge. One that I absolutely cannot handle on my own.
It’s also hard to examine how impatient I really am in the middle of affliction. I want immediate resolution. I want to just decide that it is all going to be ok and that’s the end of it. It’s ok. I try so hard to just think myself out of negative situations by deciding that it’s not actually a problem. Rather than being patient through an actual resolution. Rather than trusting that there is a reason for every situation. Rather than being faithful through the waiting.
And oh, how hard it is for me to be persistent in my prayer. It’s hard enough for me to be honest and vulnerable once. Why should I ask again? How can I be so bold as to take something to the Lord multiple times. He already knows, so why should I bother Him once, much less more times? Well, because it’s not a bother, and that’s what he asks of us. That’s what He wants from me. That’s how we build relationship with Him.
Each section of this verse carries such conviction. It’s amazing how each grouping of words so perfectly reminds me of how I need Jesus. I can try all I want, but I need Him to help me connect the dots. To give me grace when I just can’t seem to make it work. To stretch His arms out for me and be the only way to rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction, and be persistent in prayer.