The first part of the first verse of the hymn Paradise Valley reads
...As I travel thru life, with its trouble and strife, I've a glorious hope to give cheer on the way; Soon my toil will be o'er and I'll rest on that shore where the night has been turned into day...
- now I have a better understanding of what toils are. It's hard labour for God and the work of repentance in particular.
It has taken many hard lessons and some currently being learned and many yet to learn to appreciate the words in the hymn soon my toil will be o'er.
The O.T. is full of worthy examples of ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives and whom we hold in high regard for all they have patiently endured.
Men such as Noah; Moses; Jeremiah; Job; David; Daniel; and other notable characters.
Women such as Esther; Hannah; Ruth; Naomi; the wives of the great men and also others whose lives and toils and experiences are recorded for us to learn from.Whenever temptation trips us up or makes us walk off the narrow road, this is the time to hold fast to the hand of Jesus .
Isa 41:13 ...For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, Do not fear, I will help you....
Unfortunately sometimes it is only when we have actually stepped off the path that we notice we've made a mistake. The toiling comes in when we decide we want to get back on the path and have to work hard at putting away that which tempted us off the pathway in the first place .
1 Cor 10:13 ...No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful,who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it...
There is a phrase different folks-different stroke, but you know, sin is not a respecter of persons, we all get tarred with the same brush! The only difference between the worldly person who sins and the Christian who sins, is the Christian has the knowledge on how to have the tar of the sin removed.
Repentance is an active word. When we repent of whatever sin, then the toiling begins. There are words from another hymn which I will use here.
An Empty Mansion
- When my labor and toiling have ended below and my hands shall lie folded in rest... Toiling and hands folded don't exactly go together. One is active and the other is inactive. However whilst we live in this earth as Christians and ambassadors for Christ, our hands, hearts, minds and whole self must remain in action for God. And it is only In His Time that our hands shall lie folded in rest.
1 Cor 4:12 ...And we toil, working with our own hands...
This is a reference to how the early Christian preachers and teachers supported themselves as each church was being established. How easy it might have been to say to themselves, I'm already doing a good work, why should I have to toil also. Sometimes when I read the accounts of the toils that many saints who have gone before, which are recorded in the bible old and new testaments I wonder do I even know what it is to toil. Then I realise that each individual has his or her own individual toils and for each of these God has given us a way of patiently enduring whatever that toil may be.
2 Cor 12:9 ...My grace is sufficient for you... and Hebr 4:16 ...Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to hope in time of need...
However we can only draw near with confidence, if our hearts are humble enough to take on or go back to the toiling for Christ's sake. Each new day is another chance to establish firmer roots in Christ and the toiling that each person takes on and patiently endures and succeeds with is another solid root in Christ, so that when the big wind of doubt and fear assails us, the long suffering toiling that we had been doing will stand to us and we will not be broken off and scattered like the twigs of the world.
2 Tim 2:19 ...Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, The Lord knows those who are His, and Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness....
Toiling takes a heart and mind that are both humble and willing to learn, no matter how many times we fall and feel we need to come back to God for forgiveness. Each time we come back and acknowledge our weakness, our toil gets a little easier, because our roots in Christ have grown stronger. And at the end of the day, that is the purpose of our toil - to grow stronger in Christ.
2 Tim 2:15 ...Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth...
The words of Isa 41:10 should be a comfort to the one who is willing to toil diligently and work hard at learning the lessons of what it takes to stay on the pathway to God.
...Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you, with My righteous right hand....
When we have toiled to the satisfaction of God's will for our individual lives, as only He knows, since He knows us far better than we know ourselves, we will then be rewarded with a life as described in the hymn Paradise Valley
-As I travel thru life with its trouble and strife, I've a glorious hope to give cheer on the way; Soon my toil will be o'er and I'll rest on that shore where the night has been turned into day. Up in the beautiful paradise valley, by the side of the river of life, up in valley, the wonderful valley, we'll be free from all pain and all strife; There we shall live in the rose tinted garden, neath the shade of the evergreen tree, how I long for the paradise valley, where the beauty of heaven I'll see...
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