Trouble in this world is inevitable. In fact, Jesus promises us that we will have trouble! But He also tells us to be courageous because He has overcome the world. The promise of Jesus found in John 16:33 gives us a profound hope in the midst of our most dire circumstances. It is a hope that is bigger and greater than anything the world can possibly throw at us. But this still begs the question, what does it mean to have courage in the midst of troubles? It is easy to fall into despair when we don’t see a way out in our current situation. In the midst of our most trying circumstances, we come to terms with our finite human ability to fix our situation. We realize we are ultimately not in control. Paul here gives us a good blueprint for what it truly looks like to have courage. He tells us to rejoice in hope! Regardless of what is going on in our lives, we are to cling to the hope of Jesus. Ultimately, this is to take an eternal perspective of our situation. He then tells us to be patient and constant in prayer. These directions can feel fairly obvious. They can feel like the classic Sunday school answer. But then Paul tells us something that is counterintuitive. He tells us that we are to contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality to others. When we are going through trying circumstances, we tend to become inwardly focused. We think of our needs instead of those of others. But Paul directs our attention outward to the needs of others. When we do this, something remarkable happens. We become a beacon of hope to those around us. Like a wood-burning stove that keeps a home warm in winter, we radiate the hope of Jesus to those around us. In this way, others come to know the hope we kindle in our hearts.
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality."