“God isn’t through with you yet,” he calmly muttered. “He has something else in store.”
My friend’s statement was mounted on top of three years of discouragement and disappointment that were quickly converting into depression. I knew what God wanted me to do-and I had been doing it, but someone else’s distasteful decision had put me where I presently was. I craved obedience to God’s call, but no one was currently calling me to do it. I was thankful for my friend and others like him who flung encouraging words my way during this dry spell in my life’s journey. Had it not been for the encouragement, I may have surrendered to the devastating effects of depression.
Paul recognized encouragement’s power. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak (I Thessalonians 5:14 NLT).
Life events-many of which are uncontrollable, can send us pummeling into valleys of discouragement, disappointment, loneliness and depression. Nor does life always proceed in the direction we hoped or planned for. Bad decisions by us or others, diseases, sour economies and a host of other ill winds can blow discouragement our way, but encouraging words from others can lift our spirits and strengthen our emotions.
Encouragement can also build self-esteem in those who’ve had theirs torn apart by damaging messages from parents, abusive spouses, obnoxious bosses or holier-than-thou faith partners. Encouragement can restore what the enemy has stolen.
Additionally, encouragement can create a thankful spirit. As we dive into other’s lives by taking part in their trials and sorrows, we grow more thankful for God’s guidance in our own lives and for his faithfulness in meeting all our needs. Walking in other’s shoes gives us a greater appreciation for our own situation. Who do you know that needs a word of encouragement?
Prayer: God in whose comforting continual presence we revel, turn our eyes toward those who need a spirit lift, and give us wisdom and courage to encourage them even as You do us.
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