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“BE PATIENT IN TRIBULATION” Thoughts from today’s Bible readings – Feb. 2nd D.Caudery

As the spiritual darkness in our world increases the prospect of times of great difficulty also increase.  As a result, our faith, our conviction of “things that are unseen” [2 Cor. 4 v.18] must also increase.  A vital factor in this is our prayerful reading and meditation on God’s word – it is not sufficient to develop our intellectual knowledge of what is written – it is vital to become so conscious of the wonder of the fact that “In him we live and move and have our being” [Acts 17 v.28]  that our minds come more and more ‘alive’ to the awesomeness of eternal realities: this is the outcome of having genuine faith..

With this spirit in our minds we can “be patient in tribulation” when others are overwhelmed by anxieties.  Paul has many valuable points to make in writing to the Romans about this need.  After his exposition about God’s work and plans for both Jews and Gentiles in chapters 9 to 11 – the ‘power‘ of his appeal to all believers in ch. 12 needs to be fully absorbed into our minds.  

There are soul stirring words of exhortation on Christ-like daily living in the first 11 verses: these are the foundation on which all must live and team together.  Do they stir us? It sounds simple to say, “Let love be genuine.” [v.9] – but ‘love’ has to be demonstrated by actions, not just talk.  John in his epistles, the last to be written, stresses this so pointedly. “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him” [1 John 3 v.18-19]       This spirit is even more vital in times of “tribulation” – how valuable is loving support for each other going to be when our world is experiencing really great world-wide “tribulation” – will the experience threaten to overwhelm us?   

A final time of potentially intense “tribulation” appears to be facing our world – and panic may well be the reaction of the “godless.” Paul told the Romans (and us) to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” [v.12]   May those words find a firm place in our hearts.

Finally and most importantly, note the final words in today’s chapter, ” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  May that be our ‘motto’ for the rest of our lives.