Joshua 1:9b – Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (NIV)
In today's broken world, there is an ongoing deficit of hope, and it would seem that the need for encouragement and a true sense of self-worth is one of the greatest threats facing the world. Typically, I would not have given much thought to the value of being encouraged by someone else and the liberating power that a kind word brings. This week, however, I have had somewhat of an epiphany in this area.
Many of my close friends have come to me with various heartaches and struggles that life has brought across their paths, some of which were so traumatic that I was left without any words to soothe them. No matter how frantically I searched for a positive word to give, or a bit of counsel to set them back on a more hopeful path, all I could possibly do was listen and try to empathize with their situation. Now, those who know me — I mean really know me — are aware that I am a chatterbox. Very rarely will I run out of words to say to someone who is in pain or dealing with a life circumstance, but this week was different. How do you possibly tell someone who has a terminal illness just to be positive because life always works itself out? Or how do you tell someone who is losing everything they own because of a job loss, to trust that there are plenty of jobs on the market, and surely they will eventually find another job. You don't, because encouraging someone in a time of need goes deeper than positive affirmation and a call to be strong and endure the ride.
As a believer, I know that God wants me to help those in times of need and to encourage those who are broken. However, where does one begin to walk out that call? I believe that it starts with today's Scripture, one of the most dynamic verses in the Bible. It tells us that we are to be strong and courageous because the Lord is with us no matter what we go through, or where we are in life. What this Scripture tells me is that all believers have the God of the universe walking with them through every trial and dark place imaginable, so there is no need to fear. How refreshing this message is to my soul!
Instead of trying to fix our friends, family, or loved ones with positive statements or false claims of hope, why not encourage them in God's love for them? Because of that love He will never leave us or forsake us. Let's be an example of God's love and encouragement to others by walking hand in hand with them through their pain, because that is what God does for His creation.
Today, you can become a walking encourager by showing others God's unwavering love and commitment to them. Ask the Lord daily to show you how you can encourage someone who may be shattered by life, and watch as the Lord uses you to heal and lift up those who have lost hope.
Prayer: Dear Father God, help us be agents of encouragement and love. Help us to be open to Your Spirit and Your direction when dealing with others. Give us the boldness to love by our actions and not just by our words. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Breathe On Me Breath Of God" (Lyrics)