We could stay out til the street lights came on. The race was on! We played hard and we played long in my city neighborhood when I was young. Running and chasing games were always the fancy of everyone. I was long and lean and gangly and although I was an agile little dancer, I was not particularly athletic and I often tripped, skinning my knee and calling out, “Wait up!” and lagging behind all the others. I felt left behind and I heard my friends off in the distance laughing and screeching in full throws of the game.
This is often the state of a person who suffers a long trial.
The initial days of the trial are embraced by many encourage-ers, supporters, and well wishers. Everyone is involved. The work is hard on both ends. One to endure the trial; the other to watch the trial: stand by and be supportive. Yet as the trial continues and becomes an ongoing, long suffering journey, the sufferer becomes that child on the ground with the skinned knee lagging behind and often only hearing the crowd off in the distance fully engaged in the game.
The fault belongs to no one. Life moves on at a fast pace and while the one suffering trial must stay put to endure, the others must continue on in their path and be engaged in their life “game.”
I was reminded of this picture image as a friend looked up at me from a wheelchair last night and said, ” you know, I still need encouragement every day — every day…” His eyes were searching for understanding. I gave him that; I knew exactly what he was speaking about as I too had endured a very long trial not too long ago. God is faithful and He always provided just what I needed and sustained me with His presence and those handful of steady caretakers. Yet the need for daily encouragement remained. For the sufferer and for the steady caretakers.
But, there I stood on the other side – now being one of the friends off in the far distance laughing and screeching in the game as it moved on. Zot! The Holy Spirit spoke to me. This friend sitting in the wheel chair, another friend in the hospital, another friend captive in her home were just three of many who popped into my heart’s mind as those who need encouragement everyday. 1 Thessalonian’s 5:11 burst through in loud resound, “…encourage one another and build each other up,…” First and foremost, we need to encourage one another toward faith and salvation in Jesus Christ. And to keep doing so, to urge each other on in the path of life that is set before us, reminding each other of the importance and urgency of living a life for Him. I believe even more so for those who are suffering, who are weakened, and who are weary, so they do not lose heart.
Yes, dear friend. I understand.
May I be bold to implore you who read this blog entry to consider the same. Look about you and remember those who have fallen and sit with the skinned knee (and worse) and who are still struggling and lagging in their trials. I ask you to heed 1 Thessalonians 5:11 with me and live it out by finding tangible ways to encourage others each and every day. As we serve and offer works of loving kindness to them, we are living out our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Will you join me in being an encourage-er today, and every day? The street lights have not come on yet, and there is still time to “play!”