In that last few years my wife and I have had some tough times thrown our way. Not all the details can be shared, but there were some disheartening days for the McCraw household in the last few years. That is not to say that there were no days with smiles. We did have some wonderful Christian friends and family who encouraged us during those days. However, without the grace of God and the peace and joy that only He can provide, we would have been hopeless.
However, in the last few months, God had begun to shower us with blessings. My wife is 13 weeks pregnant with our first child, we have purchased a beautiful new home within our price range, and, most importantly, we are serving a wonderful church that is committed to loving God and loving people.
As I pondered all of this, I asked myself if the days my family is in now are a reward for the days that we went through over the last several years. I can confidently say that I do not know the answer to that question. We see from the book of Job and from many other passages of scripture that God does not work according to our rules of logic. Is He rewarding me? Perhaps. Is He teaching me a lesson? Maybe. Does He owe me an explanation for what I have gone through, or will go through? Absolutely not!
To say that I have done something to merit the favor of God in my life is not only contradictory to the heart of the gospel, but it is also to imply that I had done something wrong to merit God withholding His favor on me during the tough days. As I write this I am thinking of a dear family who has lost a loved one. I am thinking of a pastor friend in another country who can’t even afford to feed his livestock, which he raises to supplement his meager church salary. I am thinking of many who are going through very trying times. Am I to conclude that they have somehow brought their calamities upon themselves? By no means!
We do have consequences for our sins. We do have to deal with the results of poor choices. However, that is not to say that all trouble is brought about in such ways. God’s grace falls on the just and the unjust. In the same way, God’s withholding of His blessing comes to the faithful and the unfaithful.
No matter if I see rain or sunshine today I have a great hope. That hope is not only that God knows my hurts, fears, and sorrows as well as my joys, smiles, and celebration, but more importantly, I have a hope that God has prepared a place for me where I will one day spend endless days enjoying the splendor of His great paradise. That is a reason for joy.