Just today, I was watching Ellen. She was recognizing someone who had done a lot of good works in the community (who herself had very little to live on and was asking for help). When the woman got called up on stage, it was very moving because this person who had worked for a long time without recognition was finally receiving reward. I saw her receive a new car, and then when they came back from the break, she also received 10,000 dollars. It reminded me of this verse:
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"
I thought, if a mere human can reward another human for good works so richly and extravagantly, then imagine the gifts we will receive from God for doing his work in his name and asking him for help.
It's a challenge for me to remain encouraged when I feel as sick as I have the past few days. I seem to repeat the familiar chronic-illness-cycle of pushing too hard and then paying the price. I get discouraged because my emotional ability to cope well with my family's ongoing struggles is eroded by my physical weakness. At my sickest, I also feel the most powerless, the most irritable, and the least effective for God.
The reward on this TV show today reminded me of how long we sometimes have to labor quietly in dark times before we receive blessing for our obedience. If you are struggling alone and feel like you are not making progress in your trials, be encouraged by this quote from George D. Watson (a Wesleyan minister from the 20th century):
"The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade."
Though we may feel that nothing is changing in our circumstances, we can trust God to grow the fruit of his character in our lives as we quietly wait and labor for him.
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”
1 Corinthians 2:9