Faith and the Reward

Hebrews tells me that “… God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) I have been thinking about this passage lately. Earlier in Hebrews 11 are the verses most of us know pertaining to faith being the evidence of things hoped for. Particularly on my mind is what it means to diligently seek Him. Over the past 6-8 months I have been through some of the hardest difficulties ever in my life. Times that sometimes make me want to walk away from God altogether. And as it stands right now, I see no light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t even see a tunnel. I know God is here, in the midst of my darkness. I know that God works all things together, and that he is here, somewhere. God rewards those who diligently seek Him. To be diligent means you are consistent, steady, or persevering. Every day seeking God, every day looking for Him, calling to Him, listening for Him. In the midst of trials, it is so difficult to do this. Seeking God is easy in good times; I want to hear Him when things are easy. But in a world so dark I can’t see my hand in front of my face, I lose sight of God. I don’t want to listen because I don’t get the answers I want. I don’t want to find Him because I am afraid of what He might tell me. I weary of the Bible because it seems to be full of happy go lucky people who trust God and every thing turns out okay. But look at the end of Hebrews. The whole chapter talks about faith, referencing Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. Great men and women of God, who saw God do incredible things. Easy for them to trust Him. But as you keep reading, you see that all of these people faced great trials. Overcame great struggles. And if you read the scriptures closely, and not just rely on what you know of the stories, you will see that they all had times when God seemed far away. When God did not seem to answer their prayers. But he came through, and rewarded those who diligently sought Him. Feeling warm and fuzzy yet? Well hold on. Hebrews then goes on to discuss others, saying there is not room for their stories. People like Gideon, Barak, David, Samson, and so on. Listen to these verses.

Hebrews 11:32-35a
And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed {acts of} righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received {back} their dead by resurrection;

Makes you feel good, doesn’t it? I can overcome kingdoms, escape fire, obtain promises, stop the mouths of lions, or receive the dead back to life. God can do these things through me. He has done it for people in the past. Lets keep reading.

Hebrews 11:35b-39
and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated ({men} of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,

Woah! Stop the happy train. These people had faith in God, sought Him diligently, and all they got was death, torture, a life of pain and difficulty, and sorrow. It is so important to take all of scripture. I have written before about the importance of studying all of scripture, not just selected verses, and this is a prime example. God rewards those who seek Him. Sometimes in physical ways, always in spiritual ways, and sometimes in ways we cannot understand. Those people who were sawn in half and lit on fire might have had trouble seeing God in their life, but no matter how difficult my circumstances get, I have to trust Him, to stay close to Him. To listen to what He says. No matter how difficult, I must believe that God’s plan for me is perfect. Even in the midst of death and sorrow, I know He will come through in the end. Diligently, consistently, steadily, every day looking for Him, seeking Him. And that is faith. Seeking God in the midst of sorrow, even when seeking God got you the sorrow in the first place.


Anonymous said…
Well written article.

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