Last night I woke up a little shaken from a terrible dream. I know pregnant women are known to have their own cache of wild, over-the-top, or just downright unusual dreams — and trust me, I’ve had my share — but dreams like I had last night aren’t really that uncommon for me, pregnant or no, and they aren’t at all funny or amusing to recall. Dreams that throw me into the comforting and yet sometimes terrifying knowledge that there is much more to life than the tangible; that we wrestle, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world. Dreams that may cause my heart to tremble until I remember who is on my side; until I remember the power of God to smash anything under His fist that is not holy, pure, and pleasing in His sight. Often have I communed with my own heart upon my bed with the reminder that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Tim. 1:7)
I couldn’t fall back asleep. I fumbled for my phone and quickly tried to adjust the brightness before being completely blinded by the screen light. Everything frightening feels so much more real in the shadows of the night, when all the distracting busyness of the day is ripped away and we are left to face the nakedness of life under all the flotsam of daily living. It’s not being impressed with the reality of darkness that is the problem . . . what Christian doesn’t have some blanket of heaviness over their heart as they remember the power and measure of evil that is all too present today? I needed the security of the Scriptures, the peace that comes from knowing God is in charge. Opening my Bible app, I continued my reading from yesterday, scrolling down Romans 2 in the stillness of the night. The jerking of my dream began to fade as my mind was filled with the knowledge that God’s gaze is fixed on the heart, no matter what we do, no matter what we teach, no matter how “together” we may seem to have it on the outside . . . He is watching, studying, examining, testing the heart.
How He hates hypocrisy.
For the next hour I tossed and turned and prayed and thought. I listened to the hum of the fridge from the kitchen down the hallway and the steady breathing of my husband beside me. I felt my little son roll around and kick inside, not at all shy or quieted by the lateness of the hour. I was captivated by this one thought: Am I living for the praise of God? . . . For His pleasure? For HIS glory? It’s all one and the same. What glorifies Him, pleases Him, what pleases Him, He praises. What did I do yesterday that was for God’s eyes only? Like a Rolodex, the happenings of yesterday flipped through my mind, one by one. What had I done in secret, that was between God and me? That was completely confidential? What did I do with my left to which my right was not privy?
I remembered tracing my fingers down the cool, inside cover of my Bible yesterday afternoon, where as a teenager I had taped G.D. Watson’s, “Others May, You Cannot”.
The Lord may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small.
He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious He may let others get credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.
Still more precious. Yes, what we do that is not praised by man on earth, is still more precious when it is stored away for the pleasure and approval of Jesus alone, to be turned in for crowns, to be cast at His feet when we are yearning to give Him all we can possibly gather. Yes, we will yearn to give Him everything at that moment we are declared righteous by the covering of His blood over our filthiness; at that moment we are invited to enter into our glorious new home away from the pain and darkness that colors this earth and paints our dreams by the residual blackness of its brush.
Are you living for God’s praise? Are you doing those things in secret that you know He loves? His eyes are in every place, after all . . . not just beholding the evil, but beholding the good. What did you do yesterday, and was any of it for God’s eyes only?