Saturday, June 07, 2014

Encouragement

Recently I was asked by a very dear friend to email a mutual friend a note offering encouragement. All I was told was the individual was going through some severe hardship. What follows is the email I wrote to this person.
 
I would like to thank you for your tireless efforts and talent in your duties for our organization. Your projects are wonderful and show your passion for Christ. They are well-done and very inspiring. Thank you.


I feel led to share with you a thought or two from God's Word. In Paul's Epistle to the Philippians in chapter four, Paul has some very powerful thoughts. Paul tells us not to worry about anything but pray and petition God with thanksgiving so our requests will be made known to Him. He knows our heart and wants us to voice our needs to Him so He can receive the glory. God's peace will surpass our thoughts and our hearts and minds in Jesus.
 
Paul tells us we should dwell on honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable things. When we begin to do these things we soon find our troubles are not as bad as we thought because we have given them to God. God will show us a path to the mountain top, if we are willing to trust and obey Him completely.
 
I want to share a portion of my personal testimony about how God worked in my life during my most discouraging, saddest and trying time of my life. A few years ago, my wife died unexpectedly. Most people would be very angry and mad at God. I wasn't. Understand, I wasn't happy my wife of nearly 25 years was no longer with me. As the Word says in Genesis, we had become one. I was now half the person I had been and in more ways than just being suddenly single.
 
There was a whole range of emotions I went through during those first days and weeks without my wife. Everything seemed a blur for a long time. But God used that very tragic event to bring me to salvation. Up until the moment my wife died, I thought I was saved. I began to think about it and, also, study the Bible and I could not remember EVER asking Jesus for salvation. Turned out, I was one of those "Christians" who walked the walk and talked the talk. I was far from having the gift of eternal salvation. But within a week of my wife's death, I had asked Jesus for forgiveness and accepted Him into my life as my Savior. I have not been the same since. Yes, I miss my wife very much, but I am comforted by the fact we will be together again when I join her in heaven.
 
I have had many valleys and peaks since that day. But the point is I now have Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God on my side. With that trio, how can I ever truly fail again? The other thing which happened to me was I could not get enough of God's Word. I immersed myself in bible study. The more I got into God's Word, the more God's Word got into me. I now have a relationship with God I didn't have before. I live life differently now. I am NOT the most important person in my circle of influence, everyone else is. My needs aren't the most important, your needs and others' needs are.
 
I am praying for you, asking God to give you clarity, comfort, peace and strength. May God wrap His arms of grace around you and give you the blessings He has in store for you. In Jesus' name, amen.

The next day after I sent my email, I received a reply. While the response was brief, I was humbled that my friend was grateful and encouraged by the email. I should add that before I began writing, I asked God to give me the words He wanted me to share. It doesn’t matter I didn’t know what the situation and circumstances were. God knew. It just proves that no matter how difficult our personal journey with Christ is, there is always someone who has a tougher road to walk. I believe that is part of what Paul meant when he said to put the needs of other ahead of our own needs. Because in the end both of us become a bit more Christ-like in our journey toward eternity.
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