(I had the privilege last week of having this article posted on the website for Campus Crusade’s global women’s ministry, after it first appeared on a blog for hurting parents (see Hope for Hurting Parents). I wanted to share it with you all. The second part about Romans 12:12 I posted several months ago here.)
A few months ago, my family and I purchased two angelfish for our aquarium. My kids named them Michael and Gabriel, of course. They have been a beautiful addition to our community tank.
Well, about a month later, we got the surprise of the week: angelfish eggs! We had no idea. Evidently, Gabriel needed to be renamed Gabriella. I texted my fish-guru friend and got some advice, and we hoped for the best from this batch.
There was advice aplenty on the internet, and most people said to expect these first-time parents to eat their fry. They’d get better with each spawning. They laid the eggs on the filter intake tube, so chances were the tiny fry would get sucked up in the filter, if the parents didn’t eat them first. Or the other fish. There was danger everywhere in the tank. Why didn’t we know this? We were so unprepared to be fish parents.
Sixteen years ago we were also unprepared to be actual parents. Kids don’t come with owner’s manuals. All we could do was pray and trust that God loved our kids more than we ever could.
Things didn’t work out so well for our fishies. One morning, all the eggs were gone. And sometimes, in our own parenting, things don’t work out as we hope and pray they will. But God is still God, and we have a hope to hold onto.
May Romans 12:12 give you hope that God is there. He hears you and He’s holding your wandering child close to His heart, whether they like it or not.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
Joyful: full of joy, as a person or one’s heart; glad; delighted.
Hope: The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing praise to His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds – His name is the Lord rejoice – before Him (Psalm 68:3,4).
Patient: bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.
Affliction: a state of pain, distress, or grief; misery
“I wait patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40: 1-3).
Faithful: steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant
Prayer: a spiritual communion with God . . . as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.
“To the faithful You show Yourself faithful, to the blameless You show Yourself blameless, to the pure You show Yourself pure” (Psalm 18: 25, 26).
Which of the three: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12) is hardest for you?
Why do you think that is? Where have you seen God’s faithfulness in the midst of your struggle?