“Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!”
“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us – and establish the work of our hands”: the two could be reversed – for if God establishes our work, then His favor shall be upon us as we do His will. And when God’s favor is upon us, what joy this brings! It’s the kind of joy Paul had – knowing he was doing work established by God, and knowing God was pleased by his work, he could observe, despite terrible persecutions and difficulties, the fruits of his labor. He knew he was not running in vain. His work was challenging – but fulfilling.
Many times he was tired, discouraged, disappointed and in pain physically and in spirit. But he persevered in doing God’s work. And he developed a spirit, an attitude, an outlook, that could claim “whatever state I am in I rejoice.”