2 Corinthians 4:10-11, 16-18
Americans like things to be logical and fair. We operate our lives on that basis. Meaning this: If I do what is right, good will come to me; and if I do what is wrong, bad things will happen to me. Right brings rewards and wrong brings consequences.
That's a logical and fair axiom of life, but there's one problem. It isn't always true. All of us have had the unhappy and unfortunate experience of doing what is right yet suffering for it. And we have also done what is wrong on a few occasions without being punished. The latter we can handle, but the former is a tough pill to swallow.
This can even happen in a life of servanthood. You will give, forgive, forget, release your own will, obey God to the maximum, and even wash dirty feet with an attitude of gentleness and humility. And after all those beautiful things, you will get ripped off occasionally.
The Bible doesn't hide this painful reality from us. In 1 Peter 2:20-21 (addressed to servants, by the way—see verse 18), we read:
For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favour with God.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.
If a person does wrong and then suffers the consequences, even though he or she patiently endures the punishment, nobody applauds. But—now get this clearly fixed in your mind—when you do what is right and suffer for it with grace and patience, God applauds!
When you feel as if God is taking things away, maybe He's just trying to make room in your life for better things that He wants to give you.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.