the reward

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If you did not read my previous post, you may want to go there now, grab a cup of  tea and then come back to read these words from a very wise woman.

My dear Ruthi: You are not at all like your Mama in some ways.  You are not afraid to make yourself vulnerable by airing your doubts, fears and questions.  Your Mom is – shall I say – more private, afraid to be judged “unspiritual” for sharing her weaknesses.  But lest you and your readers think that Art & Evy Yohner are super spiritual humans who never falter or have doubts and have it all together I must be open and vulnerable too. 

I have asked “Lord, Why?’ many times over the past seven years since your Dad’s diagnosis.  “What possible reason, what plan or purpose can this mean or accomplish?”  I have watched my strong, courageous, protector and provider, humorous and articulate family spokesman and preacher stripped, totally dependant on someone else and slowly slipping away.  We are now his advocate, protector, spokesman, guardian and POA.  I have watched his steady and rapid decline and again I have asked “why, how, when and what?” many times.  I don’t expect that I will get the answers in this lifetime.  I can only  trust in God’s wisdom and faithfulness.  And as for rewards I think maybe we will have to wait for the Judgment Seat of Christ when the rewards and crowns are given out for the deeds or work we have done.  I really don’t expect that I will be in the front of the line.  I am just a wife who has stood behind a man of God as encourager, confidant and soul mate.  I am not the shining soul winner or the bold prayer warrior as so many of our friends are. 

Your Dad use to share the illustration of the weary missionary couple returning from a long ministry in Africa.  As the ship docked and the gangplank was lowered there arose loud cheers from the awaiting crowd.  The Welcome Home banner was swaying in the breeze, flags were waving and the band was playing.  As this very important person walked down the gangplank and set foot on the shore he was smothered with embraces and congratulations.  Following not far behind this celebration the weary missionary expressed his disappointment and dismay to his wife.  “We have been gone so long and worked so hard, but no one is here to welcome us home!”  His wise wife replied, “But Honey, we are not home yet!” 

Yes, the reward can wait because we are not home yet.  If I search for it now I will become disillusioned, discouraged, depressed and bitter.  Your Dad, who trekked through dense jungle in search of a lost tribe and who traveled tirelessly all over the country and beyond for the cause of Christ and missions, from one airport to another, will get his reward too.  Presently it’s almost like he has his one-way ticket and boarding pass in hand and is waiting at the airport for his scheduled flight.  We all expected him to depart last year but for some unknown reason his flight is delayed.  We could show our impatience and demand an answer.  But for him it doesn’t matter, he knows his destination and time of departure is in God’s hands.  The waiting and watching is so difficult and at times heart wrenching for you and me. 

I have been reading through the book of Job.  He was sorely tested by Satan, with God’s permission.  He had lost everything – family, property and his health.  All he had left was his wife, who told him to “curse God and die” and three miserable comforters and accusers.  He was in the valley of despair with many tough questions, doubts and had some astounding things to say to his “friends” and to God . . . but he knew his redeemer lived and that he would see God and would be vindicated and rewarded.

So to answer your questions, “Where is the reward and what does it look like?”  Let’s first of all shake up the sludge in the bottom of the glass – I’m almost certain that our enemy, Satan, slipped it in there – doubt, fear, impatience, maybe some self-pity, discouragement, worry, bitterness – it can be a very smooth yet potent poisonous mixture that can multiply rapidly.  (Soul searching and confession)  Then let’s completely empty the glass, wash it well until it is sparkling clean (forgiveness) and start filling it to overflowing with little rewards (praise) that we have experienced this past year.  As we ponder this I am sure that we will see what our reward on Earth looks like.  And by the way, Ruthi, please don’t underestimate your “ministry” to others including your casual acquaintances, friends, family and your parents!  You have blessed many of our friends with your gift of writing your reflections.  (You get that from your Daddy.)

Colossians 3:23-24, is my life verse:

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men: knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.  (yes, I still like the KJV)

So to put it plainly, what I do for your Dad, I am doing it for Jesus, feeding him, washing his face, talking to him, reading to him, listening and watching over him.  That is my reward!

God chooses what we go through; we choose how we go through it.

God tests our faith so that we may trust His faithfulness.

Tough times can teach us to trust.

God is not obligated to give us answers, but He promises us His grace. 

Quotes from Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries

With unending love and admiration, your Mom and Dad

PS!  I think I have outdone Job with a very long answer to a very short question!

9 responses »

  1. Ruthi-
    After reading your question and of course your mothers wonderful response ..I need to respond to this glass of sludge you refer to.
    I have come to the conclusion yor glass is full and crystal clear. Your glass reflects the awesome beauty of this world( your photography proves that) and the amazing love of our God.
    When the evil one tries to empty your glass you howl:)
    That’s why you can even ask these hard questions.
    Myself on the otherhand- my glass is half empty and full of sludge. When things happen it’s just another thing on the agenda.
    Your gift of a glass of crystal and pure water is what reminds us that there is beauty and there are questions to ask.
    Keep up the good works that God has appointed for you. You do a very good job. I know it would be a very bleak world without you.

  2. Thank you, Evy, for your pearls of wisdom. Your words are a gentle reminder that God does not always give us His complete answers to our questions here on earth, but He assures us that it’s ok to ask.

    I, too, have had many questions these past 5 years…. Why? How much longer? Where are You? And I have learned much! I still Ask Seek and Knock every day because I know He wants me to. I don’t know where else to go. And you are right… His grace is sufficient!! And I still wait for His touch!!

    You have a very wise and gentle- spirited mother Ruthi!! I see where you have received many of your admirable traits!! And not only have you received them from your parents, but you have embraced them.

    Love and prayers to all of you

  3. This is the reason ART and EVY are such godly people….how we love them and how we admire their walk with Jesus.

    I have loved them for many years and that love continues to grow.

    THANKS to them and to Ruthie but most of all to the Jesus they taught us about

  4. I have not been to your blog lately but as usual it was a blessing. As I read your mother’s response on Aug. 23rd to your questions, I was deeply moved. It is within each of us to question at times, but it is where we turn for answers that is vital to our life and walk with the Lord.

    Your mother reveals her ever abiding faith and trust in the One who “NEVER FAILS” even in the midst of her questions. I am very sure that Art, Evy, you, and your family have touched countless lives and made Jesus very real to them, as you have been going through this very long valley. I know I have been touched! Eternity will reveal the RESULTS of your being faithful to the One who “NEVER FAILS”.

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