12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Three things are critical for the New Testament believer:
- To rejoice out of a real hope,
- a deliberate endurance,
- and a prayer life that is unceasing.
These three are vital for us if we want to be authentic saints. These three aspects must become foremost in our discipleship.
Of the three, the first is to rejoice out of a real hope is the most important. It seems like I take the most “hits” over this one. There is a constant erosion over my joy and my hope. I encounter the false belief that I will be one of the damned. A variation is that I’m ‘cursed’ by God and my life from this point is always going to be hellish and miserable. Frozen like a mosquito in ancient amber.
For me, my mental illness is a sin– the sin of despair. I don’t insist on the right terminology or of definitions. Some believe these issues are demonic. Some wonder about the use of meds, or the value of seeing a psychiatrist or going into therapy. These are all valid, but it seems like polishing the brass rails as the Titanic is seeking.
I won’t try to give answers, because there isn’t a single one to be found. There’s a complexity about the human heart, and God’s sovereign plan that I can’t venture anything. I will only suggest we give room for our own misunderstandings. Perhaps it’s the presence of Jesus we can agree on.
“Rejoice in hope,” goes a long ways to combat the enemy, our own fallenness and our own sin of despair. A ‘song to the Lord’ breaks our souls free and is the brokenbelievers true hope is the best antidepressant. But I vote we keep singing out of our cells (Acts 16:25).