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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Thursday, September 17

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.
—Romans 12:12

There’s always joy around hope. When we feel hope that the prognosis will be good, or that our child will thrive in a new situation, or that we’ll get the job we applied for, or that our new relationship will prosper, joy and expectation bubble within us and lift our spirits. We are filled with a kind of edgy excitement. We eagerly watch and wait to see how things will turn out and our watching and waiting feels anticipatory rather than onerous. 

When it comes to suffering in our lives, however, the patience we are asked to have proves hard to claim. There are those who have suffered greatly and long who have learned to watch and wait through pain in the same way that they watch and wait through hope. But, most of us want only for the suffering to come to an end. We don’t want to be told that we just need to be patient in it. 

Suffering and hope are two sides of one coin. As the Psalmist wrote, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) Hope and suffering are fickle,and we can’t accurately predict when one will come on stage and relieve the other. 

What we can do is pray—regularly, consistently, over and over again with the faith that God hears and answers the desires of our soul. When we persist in prayer, we’ll find it isn’t so much situations that are changed. Rather, we are changed—from the inside out.

Hope and suffering will keep showing up like fraternal twins,but prayer will so alter us that we will begin to distinguish the soft edge around both.  Instead of clamoring to grasp onto one and spurn the other, we will find that each has their own grace to give, each has their own tale to tell, each has their own way to nourish our soul.

Gracious God, give me a soul that longs for you, a spirit that seeks you, a heart that prays to you.