Monday, September 6, 2010

Eternal Encouragement & Hope

"...and by his grace (God) gave us eternal encouragement and good hope. (May he) encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Encouraging is not something that comes naturally to me. Encouragement is what I seek from others at low points but not what I find easy to give. I have to consciously focus on my words and body language when someone comes looking to me for encouragement. Encouragement is a skill that I've had to learn. Maybe it's because I'm distracted by my own world at that moment. Maybe it's because I'm wondering how to solve their issue or crisis rather than focusing on listening to their heart. Maybe it's because I don't like pain and I want to end it quickly for them.

My husband on the other hand, is a great encourager, much like I imagine Barnabas to have been who was known as the Son of Encouragement (Acts 4:36). An encourager consoles. He will stop what he's doing and focus on the hearts of others. An encourager is a visionary. He sees the "big picture" and knows, in light of the present moment, everything's going to be okay. An encourager cheers. He revels in the good. He's on your side, praising your good points, cheering you on to be the best, to do your best until you reach your destination. An encourager is a good problem solver. In the midst of chaos, he helps untangle the mess, clear the path so you can be on your way again.

Everyone needs an encourager in their life. We're told in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 that Jesus, himself, has given us eternal encouragement by his grace (of forgiveness). Jesus is our great consoler and listener when we hit our low points. He's also our visionary and cheerleader. He's the artist that drew the big picture and will work out all the messes along the way cheering us onto His desired destination for us.

As we walk together, those who find encouragement hard to find or hard to give, learn from the eternal encourager, Jesus. May we in turn encourage one another in Him and in everything.

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