Let me paint you a picture. Feel free to fill in the blanks with your own situation.
So basically Isaiah is chattin' it up with God in Isaiah 49.
God says, "You are my servant, and you will bring Me glory."
But Isaiah replies, “But my work for them seems so useless--like it's all in vain!
I have spent my strength for them without response. Feels like it's for nothing and to no purpose. It's all a WASTE."
Sound familiar? In Isaiah's case, it was all about the fact that he was laboring on Jerusalem's behalf and seeing nothing come from it.
What is it in your case? What's that thing that feels utterly useless?
Your time poured into a ministry?
Your hours spent building into the lives of your children?
Your efforts in your marriage?
Your prayers for the one who really needs them but refuses to recognize it?
Ultimately, though, even in the midst of what feels like wasted time Isaiah says, "Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand;
I will trust God for my reward.”
“At just the right time, I will respond to you.
And I will make My mountains into level paths for them.
I WILL comfort you and have compassion on you in your suffering.
You say I've deserted you and forgotten you. Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your (YOUR, reader!) name on the palms of My hands. Always in My mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins (i.e. your walls, your circumstances, what you're going through--it is EVER BEFORE MY EYES).
And the bottom line is this: Those who trust in Me will never be put to shame--those who hope in Me WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED (that means YOU, you person reading this blog right now. When you have trusted ME for the outcome, your trust is not misplaced).”
So you seemingly have nothing to show for your labors. Your efforts seem to yield no fruit--I mean, zip, nada, nothing--or maybe just far too little fruit for your liking. It's frustrating, I know.
But today we can claim truth over it all. We can love and serve confidently, knowing our walls are ever before Him--He sees it all--HE KNOWS.
So what's that thing that FEELS like a waste--a waste of your time, your efforts, and probably most importantly--YOUR HEART?
It is not a waste. It is NOT a waste. IT IS NOT A WASTE! Those who hope in Him will not be disappointed. "Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).