I can’t help it, I’m just nosy as can be. During one of the events in my trip to Cuba, I sat beside one of the ministry leaders.
“What part of Cuba do you come from?” I asked.
“Santiago de Cuba,” she said with joy in her voice.
As I shooed flies and fanned myself to create a bit of breeze in that intense humid heat, I bombarded her with questions. In the typical passion-filled Cuban style, she answered them all. Here is the summary:
She traveled 33 hours with an 11-month-old son in her arms. The trip began in a dilapidated car, springs protruding from the seat. No luxuries such as air conditioning, thus, the opened windows let all the dust in from the dirt roads. The roof was metal making the blistering heat more intense.
“How long was the trip in that car?” I said.
“Twelve hours to our first stop.”
She and the family and other families had to sleep on the cement floor of the terminal so as not to miss the first morning’s chance for transportation to the next stop. This time it was in an old truck in same conditions as the car.
Thirty-three hours later the families arrived accompanied by dozens of others who came from remote parts of Cuba to attend the event.
I was stunned. Not only at the hardship that no one in the States would even consider enduring. But I was amazed at the joy she exuded. Not a word of complaint. No words of “poor-me.” No tone of frustration. Only joy in her laughter. A sweet spirit in her willingness to serve us visitors. Imagine that. Us, who arrived in Cuba seated comfortably in a jet.
“I’m amazed at your perseverance,” I said.
She chuckled. “We love to do what God calls us to do. And the way to serve Him is to travel where we can minister to more people. That’s our reward.”
Her reward? That’s what keeps them going. The end result that keeps them energized. And the final accomplishment that gives them the strength to endure it all.
Shame on me. While on the rough road of life, the reward is often the last thing I think of. How about you? When we find ourselves riding in a dilapidated car of heartache, we want to give up. When we’re melting in the heat of broken relationships, we want the comfort of reassurance. Or when we find ourselves sleeping in the cement floor of pain, we cry out to be freed from the torment.
Thank you God! For He has three steps to keep us moving forward in the vehicle of perseverance:
No matter what you’re facing, give it all you got—the faith to believe, the commitment to endure and the strength not to give up because God said: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”
Although you may not see the results, the changes or the solutions yet, joy still bubbles inside… “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”
Your efforts are not for the benefit of the other person or to change the circumstance; rather, “It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23
If we do it all for Him, freedom comes. If we focus on His reward, the journey is doable. And if we know God is with us, no matter how rough the journey, confidence increases, and peace comes back once again.
What will happen if you focus on God’s reward during your journey today?
Janet P. Eckles