December 11, 2015

Jeremiah 31:16 This is what the Lord says:
“Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,”
declares the Lord.

It seems like there have been a lot of Scriptures about rewards recently, which should be pretty encouraging! The thing is, we can’t see the results of our actions, either good or bad, in the future, but God can. This is something we might grasp intellectually, as an abstract concept, but we are not emotionally connected to it except by faith. Those who rebel against God don’t grasp the destruction they are bringing on themselves, and those who serve God sometimes feel like their labors are in vain. The devil certainly wants to encourage both of those things! There is an inherent difficulty to being finite creatures serving an infinite Creator, but that’s where faith comes in. If God says something, that settles it, whether we believe it or not, but we get a lot more benefit if we do believe it! The expression, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it,” was popular for a while, but it places too much emphasis on our very fallible faith. Again and again the Bible encourages people whose faith doesn’t seem to be up to the task. Even Jesus said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31) And that was when Peter had already believed Him enough to take at least a few steps on the surface of the lake! I’m not at all sure I would have had enough faith to get out of the boat! Paul made what is on the face of it an astounding statement: “We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) Actually, everyone does that far more than they realize. People use electricity all the time with absolutely no concept of electron flow or current, not to mention all the more esoteric things involved in modern electronics. We need to have that level of faith in God, while at the same time not taking Him for granted. Our response should be gratitude, not indifference. As God says very clearly here, He is in charge of our rewards, and He is to be trusted.

This has been a difficult season for me in this respect, learning better to trust God even when my senses are giving the devil ammunition to tell me to hang it all up. I have certainly experienced the faithfulness of God more times and in more ways than I could possibly enumerate, yet I still get down emotionally. I need to thank God for my weakness, because He tells me His power is made perfect in weakness! (2 Corinthians 12:9) Yesterday was not as I had hoped it would be, but He is still God. I do not know how today will be, but however it turns out from my perspective, He will still be God. I need to rest in that assurance, walking in grateful, humble obedience at all times, knowing that my reward is with Him and I have nothing to worry about.

Father, thank You for Your plans for me, even when they don’t look like what I imagine or dream up. Help me be the son, the servant that You desire, for the glory of my Father, my Lord. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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