...I only posted my "happy face" posts and didn't let you know when I'm struggling. Actually, I feel like I struggle more than I'm "happy" which is probably a testament to my immaturity in Christ. Nevertheless I'm compelled to share what lifted my head amidst the tears today.
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." -Hebrews 11:6
Did you catch that last part: God is a rewarder! He gives rewards to those who diligently seek Him! Do you believe this?
The test of whether I believe this is now. Now, while all I can seem to do is cry. Now, while the one I seek to win to Christ by the pouring out of my life is harder than ever to Him. Now, while my kids require so much constant attention and training and my body is exhausted. Now, while I'm desperate to be held and led in Christ. Do I believe that God is my rewarder?
My motivation is unveiled. If I can "recall the former days in which , after I was illuminated, I endured a great struggle with sufferings," (Hebrews 10:32), the true motivation of all I do, of why I remain faithful, of why I keep reaching out, of why I keep speaking the truth to my kids, of why I keep going on alone comes to light. It's because I seek God to reward me.
This isn't earning my salvation. This isn't what I speak of. I'm talking about my motivation. What is keeping me here. What is keeping me going forward. What is giving me hope. I already know I can do nothing to rescue myself from the destruction my flesh and all creation is heading for. Jesus did that for me. He took the heat for me. He is my answer to all that condemns me. But what keeps me desiring to obey His will when nothing seems to be going the way I thought it would when His will is obeyed? It's Jesus saying undeservedly to me, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in the small things, now I give you greater things to enter into. Enter into the joy of your Lord." (my paraphrase version).
Oh how I thirst for His reward and that is why I know my life is pleasing to Him. Because that's what faith is: believing that God is, and that He is a rewarder, not a punisher, not a criticizer, not a scrutinizer, a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
As I read through the messages spoken to me by the great witnesses in Hebrews 11, I'm most impacted by those who are un-named in verses 35-39:
"... out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented-- of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise... -Hebrews 11: 34-39 NKJV
I have not seen some glorious, physical miracle worked through my life. My calling is not for abundance but for "trials of mockings", wanderings, for "not accepting deliverance." As Watchman Nee wrote, piercing me with conviction:
"So there is your problem. You feel that were you to follow in that other brother's steps- were you, shall we say, to consecrate yourself enough for the blessing but not enough for the trouble, enough for the Lord to use you but not enough for him to shut you up- all would be perfectly all right. But would it? You know quite well that it would not."
My testimony of faith, the road by which I come to God believing that His is and that He is my rewarder as I diligently seek Him is one of being consecrated for "the trouble" and for the Lord to "shut me up."
Sometimes I fall for the lie that because the race God has called me to is one of trouble and quietness, that I am not being used by God and that He has rejected me. But the truth is my Lord has sent me a message through the great cloud of witnesses, that He calls some to a race of faith through which they see blessing, deliverance from lions, birth rather than barrenness, etc. and some He calls to a race of faith through which they see trial after trial, and rejection, loneliness, prison, and "shutting up."
I've forgotten in my downcastness these past weeks that God is my rewarder. It may defy all logic. All reason. Nevertheless it's true. He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Maybe you're downcast today. Put your hope in God with me. Not in your situation. In God. Don't look for rewards here. Look for them in God. Press on with me believing until He comes that He is going to reward us, though we know we don't deserve it. He isn't rewarding us because we've got it all figured out. He isn't rewarding us because we did everything right. He's rewarding us because we come to Him diligently and we simply believe He rewards that.
Oh God of heaven. Father of my Lord Jesus. You know me! You knew me before I ever tasted of who You are. Be the lifter of my head. Be the lifter of my sisters' heads. Fix our eyes on Jesus. I cast down the lie in Jesus' name that says that because things aren't the way we thought they'd be that You are punishing us or rejecting us and that You are critical of us. You are the rewarder of those who diligently seek You. We must come to You believing that. Help us to be believing in Your mercy and grace, not unbelieving.
So glad He found me ,