I’ve been meeting with a friend once a week. I had one purpose in mind. I desired to be an encouraging and supporting presence in my friend’s life as she maneuvered through some difficult, murky waters.
My friend needed someone to be near, to listen, to care, and to comfort.
I didn’t offer advice or provide answers to my friend’s complex situation. My friend didn’t need that from me. What my friend needed was time and space to be heard as she processed her thoughts and feelings.
Recently, my friend thanked me for investing this time in her. I appreciated her words of affirmation and that I could extend this encouragement opportunity to her.
We need encouragement.
The human experience faces many seasons of difficulty, despair, and distress in life. Physical challenges, health issues, emotional trauma, relational problems, identity plights, and even crises of faith occur. We don’t ask for trouble. Yet, trouble comes. Trouble and its companions of worry, fear, and anxiety attempt to bury us with their layers of hopelessness and despair.
Yet, in the midst of these challenging and troubling times, an encouraging word can make all the difference.
An encouraging word strengthens the weak.
And encouraging presence refreshes the sorrowful.
An encouraging touch comforts the lonely.
An encouraging prayer inspires the weary.
An encouraging note heartens the distressed.
An encouraging conversation lifts the downtrodden.
An encouraging silence calms the afflicted.
For the Believer, we have the greatest encourager of all in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. He is the ultimate source of our consolation and our hope.
He is our Great Comforter:
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God the Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
New International Version, 2 Thessalonians 2: 16 – 17
We have an eternal comfort and a joyous, confident hope available to us through the encouragement and care of Jesus Christ.
In sickness, the comfort and healing care of Christ is near.
In poverty, the aid of Christ is near.
In bereavement, the compassion of Christ is near.
In loss, the hope of Christ is near.
In distress, the sweetness of Christ is near.
In crisis, the power of Christ is near.
In death, the assurance of Christ is near.
In every life circumstance, the love of Christ is near.
Do we acknowledge His unwavering Presence in such times and realize that His encouragement, consolation, and solace are offered in infinite supply?
What I am learning is that the more we draw near to our Lord and Savior and seek Him for each part of our lives – the good-the-bad-and-the-ugly – and enjoy Him and trust Him, the more we learn to count on Him during difficult times. We learn to persevere in faith and see Him as our Hope in all circumstances. In so doing, our faith is strengthened.
However, if we are doubtful and afraid in mind and heart, and struggle to believe that any good can arise from our challenges, we will fail to recognize the eternal encouragement that is ours in Christ. We just won’t see it. We will be too blinded by our self-centered desires or too buried by worry and fear to notice Him. We will descend into a pit of discouragement – where there are too, too, too many of us – stuck in the mire of fear, worry, distrust, and hopelessness.
This is why I believe that making ourselves available to others when they are having difficulty is so important. We can help direct them to the eternal encouragement available in Jesus Christ.
There is tremendous power in an affirming word and deed as we seek to encourage one another.
I observed this uplifting power in my friend as we met week after week after week. She is transforming before my eyes because of the love she receives in Christ. Although many of her challenges remain, she sees that Jesus is near her. By her side, she is being sustained and strengthened. Her heart is more robust and her mind is more resilient.
How did this happen?
It all started through a word of encouragement.
This affirming, caring word then led to a series of moments of consolation and support offered abundantly in the name of Jesus Christ!
I decided to encourage a friend by taking the time to listen, to share, and to love in the power of Jesus Christ and His eternal encouragement.
Do you need Jesus to come near to you?
Do you know someone who needs eternal comfort found in Christ?
Seek Him and tap into this infinite resource of love and discover the depth of His love for you!
Take the time to reach out to a friend or family member and encourage their hearts by drawing near, listening well, and offering support. As you do, you are offering a hope, strength and sustaining power they most need to endure their troubling situation and that only comes through Christ.
Who will you encourage today?
Image Retrieved from Google Search on Encouragement