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!