Places of Encouragement

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness                                                                                                                                                    Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

It seems funny that a great encouragement can come from a book titled “Lamentations”. Yet, we get this great quote from a Bible book about national pain. Then again, maybe it makes all the sense in the world that an encouraging quote comes from a book about the lament of the destruction of Jerusalem- the literal worship center of the Israelites. The people who read these writings needed a great deal of encouragement. They got it in the middle of suffering.

Once again, the paradox of life always strikes me. We often get the greatest encouragement from those who are in the midst of suffering. In fact, it is much more meaningful to hear the story of an overcomer, and get encouragement from that, than it is to hear encouragement from one who has not known a great level of suffering. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to get encouragement wherever we can- we all need it. But to hear encouragement from an overcomer- that is deeply meaningful.

I have an old friend who has suffered all his life. He was born with a significant and debilitating epilepsy, and finally, at age 40, he received a surgery which essentially gave him almost complete relief. He got his driver’s license when he was 50, and he began driving others to appointments, doctor’s visits, etc. He has been on disability since he was a teenager because the brain damage he suffered in all those early years left him with some cognitive deficits that rendered him unable to do paid employment. Yet he has volunteered to serve others since he was about 20 years old, teaching disabled kids to learn how to swim. This guy volunteers almost everyday at a food pantry and other church ministries. This guy encourages others by his service every day.

 Let me tell you, that encourages me.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for encouragers! Amen

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