Learning to Encourage

Sometimes life feels like that doesn’t it? Wind, rain, lightning, and fire, all coming down on you at once…I know there have been times I’ve felt like that.

One of the hardest things I have been learning is how to encourage people who are going through difficult things. Sometimes rah-rah speeches don’t work. The pain is too much. The task before them seems too difficult. Learning how to encourage someone to do the hard thing, without seeming to minimize or trivialize their pain is difficult.

I was learning this tonight with one of my kids.

“I can’t do this! It’s too hard.”

“I believe you can.”

“You’re wrong. I can’t. It’s too painful.”

“I know that’s how you feel. I guess it’s just—I have more faith in you than you have in yourself right now. God will give you the strength to do this.”

That’s as close as I have been able to come to it.

I think spiritually, that’s similar to the way God talks to me in the difficult times. When I have to do something hard, painful, or unpleasant, I have the same response: “God I can’t do this. It’s too hard.” Sometimes the “rah-rah God is good and He’s in control and you’ve got all the grace you need” speech (true as it may be) doesn’t do the trick. Sometimes the Spirit’s answer is silence. Not a silence of absence, but I silence like He’s just sitting there with you quietly, like a quiet comfort. Other times I hear Him say, “Dan, I know this is hard. I know you are in a lot of pain. I know it’s not imaginary. But you don’t have to be afraid.” And He increases my faith. When my faith is not enough, He increases it. He doesn’t want me trusting in my own strength; He wants me trusting His.

Did it work? I don’t know. I’ll find out tomorrow. But I trust God to do what I cannot do.

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