Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Let Us With A Gladsome Mind"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 12:12 – Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (NIV)
I'm looking at an old photograph on my church desk. It's a picture of my mom in her early twenties. She has black, raven-coloured hair, large, beautiful eyes, and a lovely smile. She's wearing pearl earrings as well as a decorative Isle of Man brooch on her jacket collar. I think that the photograph may have been taken on her honeymoon with my dad, because they went to the Isle of Man after their wedding.
My mom looks young and beautiful, happy and joyful. She's just married the man she loves, and both of them are on the threshold of a lifetime together. She has no idea of the hardships yet to come, but her face looks bright and hopeful. The years ahead will be bleak at times, and our whole family will be scarred emotionally and mentally, but we will survive and become supportive of one another, even though we're scattered and separated by thousands of miles.
The photograph reminds me that my mom was once young and strong, filled with hope, and happy to be in love. That memory consoles me and takes away most of the pain and bitterness that I have carried for far too long. I know that my brothers and sisters, whom I dearly love, feel the same way.
Despite her illnesses and deep depression, my mom never lost her faith. She still prayed to God in her lucid moments and clung to her beliefs. This also comforts me, because as I get nearer to the completion of my own life, I know that I shall see her again, just looking like she is in the photograph. This is what Christ has given us — a hope that perseveres and a love that never ends.
Questions for personal reflection: Is there someone in my life that I look forward to seeing in God's kingdom? How does that hope affect my faith and relationships today?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the faith that You have given us and for the hopes that we share. We look forward to the day when we shall be with You in Your kingdom and be reunited with all of our faithful loved ones. In Your holy name, we gratefully pray. Amen.