Proverbs 10:16 says
The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.
Most of us work and obtain a wage. We get paid for the quality and amount of work that we perform. At least, this is how it should be. That is the way it is spiritually.
Those that are righteous will be paid with everlasting life in paradise. They are the ones who followed all that God asked and yearned to know him better. They will get their reward.
The same can be said about the wicked. They will be paid with eternal hell. They will be punished.
It is hard for most of us to truly accept this. We want our reward and everyone else’s doled out right now. Why does payment have to be at the end? The entire amount is not paid out in the end. A few times you find yourself receiving an advance.
When you live your life for God, you will find that life is not a bed of roses. Bad things happen to good people. Look at Joseph, Job, Esther, and pretty much everyone else in the Bible that God looked with favor on. Yet, they did not have to wait to receive 100% of their reward. Joseph got a little bit when Potipher took him in. Job got a little bit when he received back all his wealth (and that was still just a little bit of it). Esther got a little bit by being favored by the king and living under his protection. Elijah got a little bit from a flock of birds.
When we see a rainbow, we get a little bit of that income. When our rebellious teenager gives us a hug and says we are not so bad, we get a small advance. When we have the chance to see someone accept Christ, we get a small piece of our final wages. We focus so much on the times that we are without that we forget the times that we are blessed.
God does not send us out into the world and says “Good luck. Hope it all works out. At the end of the journey, I’ll pay you something.” Nope. He says, “There’s the world. Here am I. I’m with you. I’ll always be with you and will give you what you need when you need it. I will show you a glimpse of paradise when the darkness closes in and give you hope of what is to come.”