9 What do people really get for all their hard work?10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
(Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 NLT)
There are always going to be days when we just look at whatever we are doing and wonder if it is all worth it. This is just a human reaction to stuff when it gets a little harried and difficult to go through. We want to know whatever it is we are "enduring" is going to somehow be worth it. I have taken on projects that physically tax my body - only to wonder half-way through why in blazes I ever started the task! This can be especially true in the hard work we undertake that actually stretches us beyond capacity. We don't enjoy the stretching process much after we get into it, even though we may have been totally gung-ho at the start! The truth is that God designed hard work - regardless of how we might feel about it right now! The design of God is for each of us to be stretched now and again - so we don't grow "flabby" in our faith. He wants us to be challenged - so our trust grows deeper and our hold on his truth becomes more solid. Have you ever noticed just how close you grow to God during the tough times? Do you think that is by accident? Nope! It is by design! The enjoyment of life is not a sinful thing - God designed for us to work hard, then to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I know there have been times when I decided to build something for the garden, or perhaps repaint a room to freshen it up a bit. It took lots and lots of energy, stretching me to capacity at times. When I get to finally admire the job at the end, it is kind of rewarding - like the "fruit" of my labor becomes some kind of "artwork" I get to take it for a while and just "enjoy". We don't know the scope or magnitude of all God has planned for us, but we can rest assure that if we apply ourselves to it, we will enjoy the fruit of whatever it is he has purposed for us to do! This is what we hold onto as we "go through" stuff that seems harder than we imagined it would be. This is what we gather around when we recognize we need help in the journey. No one sets out to fail. No one sets out fully knowing what they will encounter, either. What we realize from our "hard work" may not seem like much today, but continual application of what we know as we continue to journey from this piece of work to the next will eventually result in a finished masterpiece we can stand back and enjoy fully as we see what all came together. Just sayin!