Heavenly Encouragement

January 30, 2021

by Maria Fontaine

I was cold. Having to get out of my nice, warm bed early on a brisk morning didn’t seem like an ideal way to start the day.

I was tired. I hadn’t slept well the night before.

I was hungry. I couldn’t eat anything until after my blood tests later that day.

I was busy. I had articles to write and letters to answer.

And I especially was reluctant to go out for medical appointments during the pandemic.

In short, I’m embarrassed to say that I was being anything but thankful for the wonderful day which the Lord had made. As I got into the car, it took a significant effort to squeeze out the words, “And Lord, please make me a blessing,” since I wasn’t thinking seriously about being a blessing, but only about myself. But, thank the Lord, He knew my heart and that this mood was temporary and that I really did want to be a blessing.

The first stop on our journey was at the lab, where there was a long line waiting outside because only two people could enter at a time. After I’d stood there in line for a while, my friend who had driven me there suggested that I go and sit in the car where it would be warmer and I wouldn’t get so tired. He said he could continue to stand in line for me. The Lord, in His mercy, in spite of my less-than-stellar outlook at that moment, had given us a place to park where it was easy to see my friend in line all the way up to the lab entrance.

As I looked at the long line of people, I could see that they too looked tired, weak, cold, and hungry.—And they also were not too happy to be there! That was when the Lord started to convict me, helping me to feel compassion for these poor people, many of whom probably didn’t know Jesus.

While I have my problems and challenges, I have Jesus, and I could pray, not only for myself, but for them too. Prayer takes effort, but I know that it can help any situation, no matter how big or small.  So, I closed my eyes to pray.

Suddenly, I heard a knock on the car window. Surprised, I opened my eyes and I saw a lovely woman smiling sweetly. I rolled down the window and she explained that there was an empty chair placed beside where my friend was standing in line, and that I could sit in it if I wanted to. I thanked her profusely, but told her that I thought maybe I should stay inside the car for a little bit longer where I would be warmer.

She smiled and went off to help some other people. By this time, I was very interested in what else she was doing. I could see that she seemed to be engaging with the people in the line, obviously trying to find chairs for some of them and trying to help however she could. She kept returning to one young woman who she seemed to be with, but after a few moments she was again walking along the line. My impression was that she was trying to encourage people and cheer them up.

This woman was smiling and looked very energetic, bouncy, and happy. I was curious about her. And then the Lord spoke to me, saying, “She’s a very special woman and she loves to help people. I’d like you to give her a tract.”

So, now the Lord was showing me what I could do to put “feet to my prayers.” I got out a tract that I had with me, thanking the Lord that I did have one available. As our place in line got closer to the door of the lab, I prepared to try to see her, if only in passing.

By the time I got out of the car and returned to the line, it was nearly our turn to go in. The woman had already gone into the lab with the young woman several minutes before us. She was coming out as I was going in and there was only time to share a few words with her. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to set one of the Lord’s plans in motion.

As our paths crossed, I offered her the tract, saying, “Here’s something for you. Thank you for being so sweet. I appreciated your offer of the chair and your encouragement and cheerfulness, and I’m sure the others did as well.”

I added, “You seem to have a real gift from God.” I expected her to look a bit perplexed or perhaps a bit embarrassed at this, but she quickly responded, “Oh yes, I believe that.” She said something about how she had a school for young people. There wasn’t a chance to talk further because it was my turn to go in. I was so thankful that I could give her that tract. It was able to express what I had no time to say.

As I handed the tract to her, I could sense the Lord telling me, “This little tract is going to go a long way. She will share it with her young people, and the message will go far.”

Inside the lab, the young women who were taking the blood specimens were very sweet and helpful. I commented on what an important job they had and commended them for how careful they were with the blood samples and in following the stringent cleanliness measures that were needed. I told them how much I appreciated them for their good work.

From there, we stopped at the dentist office to pick up an X-ray. We had to wait a while, which seemed like something engineered by the Lord. There were a couple of people at the desk, as well as a few people waiting for their appointments. So, I was able to say a few brief words to several of them, encouraging them as the Lord led me.

While you can’t witness deeply when you just have a minute or two with a person, the Lord will almost always give a little thought or question that you can express to encourage them and lift their spirits. Whatever you say to someone that shows your interest in them or whatever you might feel led to tell them can cheer up their day. Encouragement almost always lifts the spirits of those receiving it.

Just before we left the dentist’s office, I saw a man who I had met some time back and I was able to chat for just a moment with him. I told him enthusiastically, “You’re looking really good, Joe.” I thought afterwards, Why did I say that? The Lord said, “Because that’s what he needed to hear the most. He’s having an old-age crisis, and he needs to know that he is still interesting to women, because that’s one of the things that’s important to him.”

I didn’t say much to any of them, but for reasons that only God understands, these seemingly small words of encouragement, appreciation, or commendation can be more important than we think. They’re just another little part of the process of the Lord pouring out His love to His creations and helping them to come a little bit closer to His loving heart.

Finally, we were on our way home. I must say I was feeling a lot better then and the grumpiness was totally gone. I asked the Lord to forgive me for not having a better attitude earlier.

The Lord often draws our attention in all sorts of ways to individuals or even small groups of people who He wants us to talk to or give a tract to. And, in my case, He even brought the woman to me when I had my eyes closed in the car! We may have our own set of appointments planned out, but even more importantly, if we’re willing, the Lord usually has made His own set of appointments for us to keep as well.

When I try to manifest Jesus to someone, even if with only a sentence or two, I feel energized by His Spirit. When I look to Jesus for the answers, I believe that His Spirit can magnify those words to help someone to draw closer to Him in one way or another.

He’s promised to not let His message return void; and when we share what the Lord shows us to say, then I believe that it will bring the results that He wants it to accomplish, whether we see those results in this life or not. If we’re faithful to tune in to His voice and are willing to do whatever He shows us, this can be the spark that ignites the fuse that lights up the night for someone and helps them to see their way to Him.

We will see the results of each one of these witnessing situations eventually, and I believe we will be thrilled. We don’t have to have some “proof” in this life to back it up. This is when we are most greatly blessed, because we have obeyed without having to see the results. There will be many times when our faith will need to carry us forward, because we don’t always see, but we trust in the Lord’s promises.

Jesus never said the walk of faith would be easy. He never said that we would see a confirmation or validation of our tasks for Him while we are here on earth. He wants us to step out by faith, to believe that what He has begun in each of us, He will perform unto the end.

God keeps providing good and effective opportunities for us to share His love and message, regardless of what they might look like to us. We have to believe that He is involving us, not because we just happen to be there, but because He can trust us to see with His eyes of compassion and understand with His wisdom and obey with the motivation that springs from His love.

So, let’s rise to every opportunity we have to touch someone’s heart with God’s Spirit, and we will be making our dear Jesus very happy, and doing our part to encourage and guide others to Him.