I replied, “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose.”

Isaiah 49:4

It is easy to lose hope when our work seems meaningless. It is built into our DNA to make a difference. We want our days filled with purpose and our lives to mean something beyond ourselves. I believe that desire is a gift from God.

Difficulty arises when we weigh what we do on the scales our culture provides. Bigger, better, louder, showy are all measures of the significance of our work. But when it is hidden, smaller, quiet and unseen it can feel useless. And hope begins to falter.

The second half of Isaiah’s observation is crucial to maintaining hope. He says it like this:

“Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.”

Isaiah 49:4

So many times I find myself enjoying the most common tasks, finding fulfillment in quiet moments and unseen efforts. Until the little voice in my head questions if this is really all that purposeful? And then my hope quivers and quakes. I begin to wonder…am I really making a difference?

In those moments of doubt, I remember the world’s reward comes at a cost. A cost of lost hope, continual striving, devastation of my soul. And so I place my hope in the reward the Lord provides. I leave the results to him.

Does your work seem meaningless and without purpose? Who do you trust for your reward? What would it mean for you to trust God for reward rather than the world around you?

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