You said earlier that the reward, the good things that happen to a righteous person are intended as encouragement for him to continue in his ways. Does that mean that the bad things that happen to righteous people should be considered discouragement?
Yes; but this discouragement that happens to a righteous man is really a form of reward for him because it gives him opportunities to display his love of Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
It’s like a general who wants to see which of his soldiers is really loyal to the country; and so he sees that the ones that are in the thick of the battle – not because they chose it but the battle is thick about them – and there they are fighting with all their might and main in the midst of the difficulties, so he knows that they’re his chosen ones. The ones who are sitting back in the headquarters at the typewriters, nothing is proven about them.
So Hakodosh Boruch Hu takes His righteous men who He has tested previously with smaller tests and He gives them now bigger tests as a reward for them. And now He gives them decorations for their successes.
That’s why it says (Bereishis 22:1), ויהי אחר הדברים האלה – And it was after Avraham Avinu passed the previous tests, והאלוקים ניסה את אברהם – then Hashem tested him with a very big test. And so, that difficulty, that discouragement that Hashem sends your way, is actually a reward because it’s an opportunity for you to display your loyalty.
TAPE # 16