Why, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence…
Before any daisy or violet, before any blossom is seen in the field, the sun lies with its bosom to the ground, crying to the flower, and saying, "Why tarriest thou so long?" and day after day the sun comes, and pours its maternal warmth upon the earth, and coaxes the plant to grow and bloom. And when days and weeks have passed the root obeys the call and sends out its germ, from which comes the flower. Had it not been for the sun's warmth and light, the flower could never have come to itself. So the Eternal Spirit of God rests on the human soul, warming it, quickening it, calling it, and saying, "O, my sent where art thou?" And at last it is this Divine sympathy and brooding influence that brings men to God, and leads them to say, "Am I not sinful?" and to yearn for something higher and purer and holier. It was God's work. He long ago was "working in you, to will and to do of His own good pleasure."
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.