Better Than Wishes
Have you ever dreamed about finding an old lamp, rubbing it, and having a genie appear in a puff of smoke? If so, I know why: the three wishes you’ll be granted. Not one, not two, but three. Three longings satisfied. Three dreams fulfilled. Three opportunities to make life better for you and those you love. We know genies don’t exist. But it’s fun to think about. Until we remember that any time this fictional scenario plays out in a book, television show, or movie, it never goes smoothly. In fact, it’s usually disastrous.
I recently came across a verse in the New Testament that made me think of Aladdin and his magic lamp. It contains three things we’re called and equipped to do. We don’t need a genie, just the Holy Spirit. And we don’t have to worry about things going awry. If we consistently put them into practice, they will ultimately bring us more joy, peace, and satisfaction than any wishes. It’s Romans 12:12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (ESV)
The first one is easy. After all, how can we not rejoice in hope? Especially when we understand what this verse is talking about. We’re not called to be cheerful about something we wish or even optimistically anticipate will happen. No, our joy is found in knowing what’s to come. As Believers, those who have received Jesus’ gift of salvation, we have complete assurance that our faithful God is working all things for our good (Rom 8:28). We’re also guaranteed to spend eternity in heaven when we die or when Christ comes back to earth for us. No matter what we’re facing, these truths are something we can always rejoice in.
But let’s face it, life is hard. Spouses cheat. Diseases ravage. Jobs are lost. Loved ones die. Sometimes the difficulties we face are of our own making. Other times they seem to hit us out of nowhere. What do we do then? Although we’d love to, we can’t wish them away. We are able to can gain a measure of joy as we rejoice in hope. But we also need to be patient in tribulation. Not an easy task. And there’s a what, how, and why aspect of the patience we’re called to have. It’s talking about persevering, but doing so cheerfully or hopefully, because of all the blessings, growth, and benefits that will come out of our trials. It’s basically having a long range view of the difficulties we face.
Finally, we’re told to be constant in prayer. To continually – in good times and bad – be talking with God and listening for His prompting, guidance, and answers. As we keep seeking the Lord, we get to know Him better. That leads to trusting Him more, which enables the hope we’re rejoicing in to be more real. And better equips us to be patient in our tribulations.
How much sweeter will our lives be as we put Romans 12:12 into practice. Three actions that are way better than wishes.
Just something I’m contemplating along the way.