Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
[Matthew 5:12 NKJV]
My mother used to say — after my having performed some minor effort of right-thinking — “You’ll get your reward in heaven.” As a child, this seemed a singularly useless gift and an excuse for refusing me something more tangible, like chocolate, or a toy, or being allowed up later than usual to watch television.
As a grown-up, I soon realised that such temporal rewards are fleeting and of no real value. As children of God, we are assured of our eternal reward, but our Heavenly Father provides us with a foretaste of things to come in the here and now.
The natural world often reveals aspects of our, and looking out on Loch Gilp last Saturday my heart was lifted and my spirit inspired by the beauty before me. I have been so thankful to the Lord that everywhere He has led us to live has brought magnificent landscapes and sea vistas; rich and deep with historical and spiritual life.
That sense of place, and of being placed by Him is important, maybe essential in our walk — and He knows where we will blossom and bear fruit for Him.
Although we have visited the United States and parts of Europe, we are not regular travellers, Milady and I — foreign holidays have been few and far between, and yet we have been hugely blessed in where He has taken us — from the great Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh to wild Argyll; from Kintyre to County Wicklow in Ireland and back to Kilmartin — all amazing and uplifting in natural beauty and turning our thoughts to our Saviour in the everyday.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honour.
(Psalm 8:3-5 NKJV)
So we can rejoice and be glad and thankful for His presence, not only in the world around us, but within us also. And yes, we should give thanks to Him for the many who have gone before us and suffered so that we might enjoy the freedom in Him that we have today. A precious gift to be cherished and shared, so that we may indeed make our calling and election to our heavenly reward sure.
Experiences of what God has done for me are only stepping-stones; the one great note is—I trust in the Lord Jesus, God’s providence can do with me what it likes, make the heavens like brass, earth like hell, my body loathsome (as Job’s was), but the soul that is trusting in Jesus gets where Job got, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”