Encouragement is Timely
I’ve often found that encouragement comes when you least expect it…and when you most need it. This has certainly been true for me lately. But how exactly does encouragement come our way?
Some will bemoan the whole “Everything happens for a reason” bit. Others might be more prone to say life is just a cycle of serendipitous encounters or random and wonderful coincidences.
I’m not sure where I fall on the continuum, but it seems to me that since God is alive and active and in close proximity to us, we should pay attention to those nearly inexplicable encouraging moments. Because perhaps He’s trying to get our attention.
This past week I had two conversations that left me uplifted, confident, and joyful. These conversations came pretty much out of nowhere, too. At the fear of sounding a little cheesy, it was as if these individuals were given a script right from God and they were reading it verbatim to me. At least, it felt like this.
I’ve always been amazed at those encounters where words, thoughts, and feelings are communicated that the other party would have no logical way of knowing you needed to hear. Have you been there before?
It’s the stranger who, somehow, speaks to the very issue you’re dealing with. Or, it’s the friend who maybe doesn’t know all the details of your situation, but they breathe fresh life into you by their warmth and care. These kind of moments just rock me.
I wonder if God is gleefully interacting with us, connecting dots, surprising us with words and affirmations, and He smiles to see if we put two and two together.
At times, I do wonder if He is that joyful and exuberant about our daily happenings.
Lately, I’ve been reading through Proverbs along with some different readings in the New Testament for my devotions. The wisdom literature always brings a smile to my face. The little quips and insights continually make me take pause.
The wisdom writer says in chapter twenty-nine that pride brings a person low, but humility brings honor. It’s good advice to remember to remain humble, but there’s a greater connection we can draw here.
Context matters when reading Scripture, but so does reading a passage in light of Jesus.
Jesus is the embodiment of all of God’s wisdom. He not only personifies wisdom, but gives us an actual pattern for living wisely. And He is the epitome of humility, giving up everything to serve and save us.
In our own lives, we can make the conscious choice to choose humility. Being humble in part, I believe, is living with an awareness of God’s movement and activity in our lives. It’s realizing we experience daily and hourly interactions with the divine. And, maybe, it’s also believing God shows up in random conversations to teach and instruct us because we need it.
I keep a journal of sorts (a notebook, really) to help me remember those moments and insights. Because it’s all to easy to speed through your day and forget the little words and encouragements that come your way.
Often times my lack of “spiritual insight” from a week isn’t due to God’s absence; rather, it’s because I wasn’t paying attention.
Are you in need of encouragement? Perhaps it’s time to pause and see what God is up to. Because if we’re willing to pay attention, we might be surprised at God’s activity in our lives.
There will always be the critics who say “How can the God of the Universe care about encouraging you when there is a whole host of issues in the world that matter so much more? How can God care about encouraging you when there is famine, war, sickness, death, etc.” You know, REAL issues happening.
I understand that perspective. In fact, it’s one I’ve resonated with copious times in my life. The line of thinking goes–“Who am I that God would be mindful of me?” (The psalmist expressed the same sentiment– Psalm 8:4)
God is mindful of you because you are his child. He is aware of your needs because He loves you. Our Heavenly Father can be perfectly aware of each and every situation happening in the world concurrently, and be right by you in this very moment, aware of the hurt and pain you’re experiencing.
Now, I’m not saying God is always intervening in our lives twenty-four seven, like directing us to pick the Raisin Bran over the Frosted Flakes, or to take the 405 instead of the 5. Perhaps part of this life is largely up to us to, you know, figure out, and to live with God in a relationship.
Did God arrange two people to say encouraging things to me this week because I needed it?
I’m not sure.
I just think we have a God who could have.
I’ve always found encouragement to be somewhat timely in my life. When I feel lost, defeated, and at the end of my rope, that’s when His word comes storming in.
Maybe God is looking to drop some encouragement your way.
Be open to it.
Odds are, encouraging moments are close by.