“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:4-6)
I feel like I have been living in a rush these past few days. There seems to be so much to do, to attend to, and to monitor. There’s not enough minutes in the day to do everything I feel I should do, and not enough strength in my body and mind to accomplish everything.
These verses from Romans do not precisely address my flurry, but close enough for me to stop and ponder on them – which in itself is probably a good thing. Harmony is not a need of mine right now as much as peace and rest. Glorifying God with one voice is not much a challenge as stopping long enough to realize that there is much I can praise God for. Not the least of which is to be able to get through these next days. Which, thinking that, has me itching to rush off, hurrying and scurrying to accomplish. But the writer of Romans has more to say.
“Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” (Verses 7 – 9a)
Everything within me wants to say, “Hurry, scurry, next task!” Next portion of the passage, move along. But I keep going back over these verses – welcoming takes time. It takes space and expanse to do it well and wisely, with compassion, love and acceptance. Servanthood takes time, and a willing heart and spirit. These things take time, I tell my self, and I must take the time to consider it all.
“As it is written,
“Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name”;
and again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”;
and again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”;
and again Isaiah says,“The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.” (Verses 9b – 12)
Hope – that is what I must pause and read in these verses. Hope that things will work out. Hope that I will accomplish all that I must do. Hope that if my strength and endurance give out, God’s strength will see me through. Hope takes time. Hope does not rush around but calmly says these thing will accomplished. Hope says I can put away my fears, and my “hurrying” and “scurrying” and rest in the Lord.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Verse 13)