As I read my friend's text message that morning, I realized that God had done it again: He had sent just the right encourgament to her email box at just the right time...
wish I had been keeping track of how many times people email me to say
they have been encouraged by some email devotional, some YouTube
sermon they found and watched, or some praise report they received in
the mail, etc.. The message is always the same: "That is exactly what I
needed to hear right now, given _______", and here they insert their
current set of circumstances.
Yes, I know that God encourages us: "But
God, who encourages the downhearted..." (2 Cor.
7:6 NET); and yes, I am aware that He knows what we need: "So then, don't worry
saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we
wear?' ...your heavenly Father knows that you need them."
(Matt. 6:31-32 NET). The part that amazes me is that those
sermons and devotionals and testimonies, etc. are usually written or
preached by someone who doesn't actually know the one who is encouraged
by it, and they certainly know nothing about the current set of
bad circumstances! God uses total strangers in total
ignorance to say just the words we need to hear at
just the right time!
that blows my mind even more is this: Those encouraging devotionals, sermons,
testimonies, etc., that bring us so much encouragement and comfort, are usually written long before we even
have a problem! In the case of my friend who texted me,
that particular devotional had been written and placed in the queue for
that particular internet devotional...over a year ago! That means that
God knew over a year ago that she would go through trying times and need
encouragement; and in His love for her, He prompted someone to pen
just the right words, and to place them at just the right time,
in the queue of just the right publication!
But it shouldn't surprise us, should it? If God
loves us enough to suffer excruciating pain and die a horrific death to
save us (See
John 3:16) and re-establish us as His family (See
Rom. 5:10,18,20), His love is big enough to include our current set
of problems: "And my God will supply your every need according to
his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19 NET). And if God
cares about our current problems enough to prepare just the right
encouragement months and even years in advance, then can't we also trust
Him to come through with the solution?
I think we can!
"But wait," you say. "I'm in the middle of something terrible, and God
isn't sending ME encouragement!"
If we are not receiving
encouragement from God in the midst of our troubles, then I might
suggest that it may not be because God isn't sending that encouragement.
Rather, it is perhaps because the circumstances have grown so huge that
they take up our entire ability to see where God is at work.
is a known fact that whatever we focus on tends to consume our entire
attention. My dog is a good example of this: Whenever she is intent on
sniffing something, her ears seem to stop working and she can't seem to
hear me calling her. Another good example is when I am working on an
important report at work. Someone might come up to my door and even
enter my office, and I might not see or hear them. In the same way, when
my husband is working on a project on the computer, he won't hear me
tell him supper is ready, and he might not even hear the phone ring.
The point is, in the midst of our circumstances, we can become so
focused on the problems at hand that we may not even notice where God is
at work around us, and we may not even see or hear His encouragement for
us. But that doesn't mean it isn't there; and often that same
encouragement that He is trying to give us was prepared months, even
years before our current problems began.
Whatever it is you are
going through right now, I would encourage you to take your eyes off the
problems of the moment, and instead, look to Jesus: "keeping our eyes fixed on
Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith..." (Heb. 12:2a NET).
When we focus on how big God is instead of how big our problems are, we
will begin to see the encouragement that God has, in His love for us,
already surrounded us with; and we will be come to understand that this
same God, who loves us this much, already has a solution in mind.
In the midst of trouble? Why not check your email for that daily
devotional you usually delete? Quite possibly it was written months to
years ago...specifically for you!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.