Last week I was really sick with a stomach virus. I couldn’t seem to bounce back and felt despondent. However I was far more troubled about some of my friends who are struggling. One friend has a two year-old grandson just diagnosed and undergoing treatment for leukemia. Another has a new-born daughter with spina-bifida. Another learned of his mother’s sudden death. My granddaughter’s father-in-law died of lung cancer. Illness. Death. Funerals and grief. My illness was so small in comparison to all those I know and love. I did my best to encourage them, but felt so tiny in the scheme of things. I wanted to be able to do more, but had no idea what I could do. Then today I read this verse:
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Just as in fact you are doing.” God has a reason for everything in this world; likewise, He has a reason for us. As we walk through our sufferings, we have each other for encouragement. Each day we have an opportunity to encourage someone, somewhere. Yet, all too often we fail to do so. Why? Perhaps our problems loom so large in our own lives, we fail to notice the problems of another. We fail to ask, or even to hear. So we go along, do our jobs, gas our cars, never even realizing someone else has the same struggles we do–friends dying, loved ones undergoing chemotheraphy. We often fail to turn them over to God, to let go of them. Sometimes we promise to pray for them, and then forget.
This week, when despondency gripped my heart, a teenager emailed me from her phone to say “hello”. She’s my grandson’s girlfriend. It was so sweet of her to let me know she cared. I emailed back and she replied and told me how much she looked forward to seeing a new blog from me at the end of her school day. Encouraging words. A few other friends left comments on my website. It wasn’t huge, just words fitly spoken at just the right time–when my body was worn, my spirit was low. God wants each of us to bring our problems to Him. He wants us to depend upon Him and recognize He is with us. He longs to love us and give to us and bestow the riches of His glory upon us. He often uses others to encourage us. It’s part of His plan.
How about you? Do you sense the leading of the Spirit this week, this day? Can you hear Him urging you to follow through on writing a note, or sending an email, making a call, a visit? Someone needs you. Do you know who it is?
© Hariette Petersen, SelahV Today, 2010