Finding Me Again

Paper has always been a challenge for me. This is true at home and in the office. One book about organization helped me immensely. The big secret for taming paper piles is cutting down the number of times you defer making decisions. If you act on a note, your can get it off your desk. If you take a moment to evaluate whether you’re really going to follow up on an advertisement, it may land in the trash immediately instead of taking the slow route and cluttering your workspace. 

There’s still a class of paper that I wrestle with; quotes and scriptures that I’ve jotted on tiny scraps of paper. For years, I’ve kept a supply of business-card-sized pieces of paper handy on my desk. When a quote or a scripture inspires me … I jot it down. When I had a desktop computer, I used to tape them around my screen or on the wall just behind. Eventually it would get a bit unruly looking and they’d all come down and end up in a little pile. I couldn’t quite bring myself to throw them away. The good part was that those quotes kept finding me, challenging me and inspiring me.

One of those little scraps found me just the other day when I moved my desk out into the front office. It simply reads … “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12” I needed to read it again.

It’s one of those beautifully simple portions of scripture that clarify life. It’s just a snip out of chapter filled with commands for Christian living. Each phrase begins with an active participle. It could be translated, “Rejoicing in hope, persevering in persecution, devoting (yourself) to prayer.” This is ongoing action … it’s how Christians are to face every day.

What hope gives us joy? Paul defined it for Titus as the “blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13) He wrote to the believers at Thessalonica, “We continually remember … your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonian 1:3) Gazing with confidence toward the day of Christ’s return (and all that will mean) focuses us forward. As we concentrate on what will be, we get joy for traveling through what is. Christians don’t live in the past … we live in sight of our glorious future and that sustains us in the present. That’s why hope and perseverance are inseparable in the Bible … and in our lives.

What’s the connection to prayer? Affliction … or persecution always ignites prayer among the followers of Jesus. Their anticipation of the world to come, keeps them from expecting ease and security in the world that is. Because their real joy and hope are in Christ, they are constantly praying for power to serve, endure and honor Him until He comes.