The Great Reward

Dearest Rachel –

So I’d been working downstairs in the office this morning, going through all manner of paperwork (you know, I thought we’d let your insurance lapse once the house was paid off – evidently not), including reconciliations of the church’s bank statements for the past month. Couldn’t stay much longer, though – with Easter weekend upon us, I’m in the booth for some long stretches today, tomorrow and Sunday.

And the folks know it. So as I’m wrapping things up, and getting ready to leave, Dad stops me, and says (along with his usual reminder that he and mom love me, and are praying for me as I deal with the current struggles I’m facing), “You know, you’re going have a great reward from the Lord for all the work you do for Him.”

It caused me to stop in my tracks before I mumbled an affirmative and headed for the door.

I really don’t know what to think about a line like that.

To be honest, I almost never think about it in terms of something I ought to be rewarded for. It’s just something that needs to be done, and I’m the one who knows how to do it. So it falls to me to get whatever needs doing done. What’s to be rewarded for, when I’m just doing my job?

Besides, once you think about it in terms of reward, you begin to think you’re owed something for what you do, and that just isn’t so. If we can’t ever be good enough to get to heaven on our own merits, why should we think anything we do is worthy of reward, or even praise?

Still, I suppose one could look at heaven itself as a sort of reward to those who are faithful to Him, to those willing to trust Him for their eternal destiny. And from what I read about it, there are extra little rewards that we receive when we get there – which we will promptly lay at His feet. So… yeah.

Meanwhile, back here on earth, I find myself having the opposite reaction: honestly, honey, I feel like I’m being punished here on earth as opposed to being rewarded:

When a man finds a wife, he finds something good.
It shows that the Lord ·is pleased with [favors] him.

Proverbs 18:22, Expanded Bible

This poses soooo many questions: What am I supposed to take from that, Lord? Are You no longer pleased with me? What have I done differently that caused You to take her from me?

That way lies madness. Whatever we deal with on this time-bound side of the pale is as nothing compared to the vast eternal evermore. But it’s all we’ve ever experienced and all we know. We literally can’t relate to what lies beyond, to that great reward you’re enjoying now.

Wish you could let us know what it’s like up there. Not so much to bolster my (our?) faith – if we get too much information, it’s no longer faith, now, is it? – but I’m curious as to what to expect up there. They say it confounds imagination, but there have been a lot of imaginations applied to the concept. How close did everyone get?

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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