It is a consistent thing in my life that in the wee hours of the morning, somewhere around 3:36 AM, I awaken. I glance at the clock. Sometimes it's 3:34 or 3:38. But I awaken consistently within a ten-minute time frame. And when it is the later time I note that I have been tossing and resisting the awakening.
I don't know why. It's not train time. There are several trains that go through town during the night with most of them hauling Wyoming coal to the power plant up near the city. Trains with coal cars that are sometimes decorated with graffiti. Colorful graffiti probably painted by gang members and so even though it is colorful I try not to admire it too much. (Am I the only one who cannot read what they are writing?)
Early this morning, while lying awake, I was thinking of several things, several people, saying prayers, reciting Scripture in my head. And one of the verses that popped into my head was this one:
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6
Surely, with the splendid awesomeness of our natural world, one's mind must be drawn to the fact of a Creator. Something cannot come from nothing. Even the most astute scientist cannot say something comes from nothing...although I have not spoken to that man, whoever he may be, so perhaps he might try to explain how something CAN come from nothing. But I bet not. The science world always explains how things were created from SOMEthing.
But to my way of thinking there has to be something before "the beginning". Something outside of us. Something beyond us. And so I believe in a Creator God and I believe in Him as explained in the Bible.
This verse talks about the man who wishes to draw near to God and that he must first believe that there is God and secondly that God rewards those who seek Him.
I want to say that this "reward" is not the reward as promised by the "health, wealth, and prosperity" gospel, that promise of some famous or infamous TV preachers that if you send in your seed money of $58 or $75 or $15 and promise to do so monthly that you will reap a great financial harvest. It seems to me there is an aura of "Gimme" in their words. Doesn't it seem funny that they always want you to send your money to THEM and not to your LOCAL church or even, indeed, to the local FOOD PANTRY or even to a family member who is losing their home.
The promise of those things (riches now) is of too short duration. In fact Jesus tells his disciples (and all followers) they will undergo suffering and persecution in life. (John 16:33) Life on this earth is hard. There is not a single solitary soul who escapes the trauma, the tragedy, the loss of loved ones, the struggle just to survive and to make life a decent place for self and family. Yes, there are days and seasons of "good". But we all go through the tough seasons as well. (And since suffering hits all, we should be compassionate to others in their time of need.)
Now I do believe that God does indeed bless us with the things of "here and now" with each of us being blessed in different ways. Our forebears certainly were not blessed with the knowledgeable medical care that we have available. Nor did they have such comfy homes as we have, with dishwashers, laundry machines, warm furnaces, and hot water available at the spigot.
Even in my life time, as a child, we never went to the doctor unless our temperature hit 104 and that was only because Mom knew that having a fever that high or higher could cause brain damage.
Even in my lifetime we lived in homes with no electricity or inside plumbing and using an outdoor facility called an "outhouse".
Even in this lifetime many around the world live in poverty and starvation and joblessness and you name it. I challenge you to preach to them the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel and tell them to "name it and claim it". I hope they boot you out the door, if they have a door through which to boot you.
No, the rewards of this lifetime may simply be existing another day. And sometimes that is the prayer of the day..."Give us this day our daily bread."
I've come to believe that when the writer of Hebrews wrote "that he rewards those who seek him" that the reward spoken of does include the things of now, the "daily bread"", the things I need now to live through the day. It includes peace of mind in the midst of good and bad. But more importantly, it includes an eternal reward, a knowledge that there is more to this life than the "now", that eternal life (which begins now.. see John 5:24) awaits those who have faith in the Creator God and what He has provided us through Christ's dying for our sins... forgiveness, salvation, justification, and the robe of righteousness that we will wear when we stand before the throne of judgment.
That verse, Hebrews 11:6, is short but it is powerful to the one who reads and hears.
The photo? A small reminder of the creative power of God. My granddaughter took this photo in Oregon last week. Thanks, Mel!