Have you noticed how the art of handwritten letter writing is increasingly fading, or pretty much obsolete? Our once, “Hi how are you”, or “thinking of you”, followed by a lengthier note of encouragement, has been replaced with a quick text or a cute smiley emoji.
Our words of encouragement to others hold TONS of weight. To see it in writing, or verbally said, that you are loved, appreciated, and supported is priceless. I strongly believe encouragement is universally lacking.
The book of Philippians is an amazing lil blueprint for encouragement. Paul wrote this letter while in prison in Rome. This, his most personal of all letters to a church, has a main directive to thank them for their love and support. So basically, the letter is a huge “thank you” note. Yet, he doesn’t stop there. He continues with instruction and wonderful encouragement: “I thank my God when I think of you … I have you in my heart …. stand fast… be of the same mind… rejoice in the Lord always… don’t be anxious … be thankful … let your request be made known… think on these things …” (Just to mention a few). And he wraps it up with “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit…” That is some loving encouragement!
We need to pause for a moment to remember that Paul wrote this while in PRISON. He could have, in his humanity, turned the letter into a huge “whine.” Many excuses could have surfaced. He could have withheld the encouragement until the conditions were better. He could have waited until he walked free in the streets, felt the warmth of rubbing shoulders with others, breathed in fresh air. But he didn’t. He spoke from his captivity. He had faith, he reached for his God and with the help of the Holy Spirit, he shared his faith and love of Jesus with others.
What an example to us all, that we not “WAIT.” Wait, until we have it all together and think the conditions are exactly right. Wait until our own pain, our own struggle has subsided. Sure, some of us are thinking, “But he was PAUL, the guy had a direct blinding link to Jesus!” Yes, yes he did. But so do we. We have the same Lord, the same Spirit dwelling in us.
Our words, whether they be verbal, written, texted, tweeted, or posted – should reach out. May we hug with our words. Don’t wait! Someone out there needs us, needs YOU. The hurting, the lonely, the confused. Embrace them. They need our words of encouragement. They can’t wait for us to get it all together. (Or wait until all this Covid-19 is lifted).
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
*I honestly do not remember where I got the image above, I’ve had it in my files for years. But is speaks volumes.