(Disclaimer: I am ticked at myself for writing this post. Because now God is going to poke me from time to time and say “Mark, remember what you wrote???”)
I’d been busy doing whatever it is that I do, all day long. I felt tired, lonely. I wanted someone to step in and help make everything “OK”. (Whatever “OK” means!)
About then my phone “chirped”. I felt that instant surge of hope that comes when a guy just knows that something good has hit his in-box. “How like God to prompt someone to send a message right now when I need it most!” I grabbed my phone and read this text…
Well, at least the first word of the message was “LOVE”! And in all caps at that!
Yes, I felt angry. A little hurt actually, that the phone company had insensitively promoted their services and stirred false hope during my time of need! But, no, I didn’t try to flush my phone. Actually, I ended up smiling.
Less than an hour before, a friend and I had talked about our responsibility to seek the encouragement we need. We’d agreed that it’s nice when encouragement is dropped in our lap. But that’s the exception, not the rule. Others can’t read our minds and automatically know how to express what we long to receive. (Truth is, we probably don’t do that great a job of encouraging them in the ways they want and need!)
My frustration over my text message was reminding me that it was up me to look for what I needed.
Encouragement on the “Worse Day Ever”
David had had a bad day. A really awful, no-good, terrible day. (Read the details in 1 Samuel 30.) I’ll tell you this much. His day was going so badly that his friends decided maybe they’d stone him! David didn’t sent a text message or an email begging others for encouragement. Rather,
“David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (I Samuel 30:6)
My guess is that David had to make that choice to encourage himself in the Lord frequently. He had a pretty difficult life. Victories and defeats. Highs and lows. Ups and downs. Yet he was called a man after God’s own heart. That relationship between he and God was his truest source for encouragement.
Encouragement on a “Kinda Rough Day”
My day ended without my receiving encouragement in the form I’d have liked. No limo delivered an expert masseur to work on my tired back. No one sent me an email explaining that I’d saved their life in the past and now they’d discovered the cure for cancer and were going to insist on sharing their Noble Peace Prize with me. (My expectations may have been a bit over the top.)
Nope, what I got was a text advertisement from my phone service provider, starting with the word “LOVE”. And that single word was enough to remind me of my responsibility to encouragement myself in truth. I am loved. By God, friends, and family.
So Lets Be Encouraged
Now, I firmly believe in receiving encouragement from others. God created us to give and receive encouragement. (2 Corinthians 13:11, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13) In fact, I see nothing wrong with asking others for encouragement.
But we also also need to ask “God, help me to not miss the encouragement that You have for me today.” Then whether it comes through His word, through a friend’s kindness, (or even through a text advertisement from the phone company!) we will be ready to receive the encouragement we’ve sought.
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