Encouragement...Why We Need It!
Two of the most handsome two year olds were helping clean up on afternoon at His Kids. Carter and Cole were lifting a heavy basket into a cubby for me. “We are strong! We are strong!” They kept saying it over and over, clearly not wanting my help, and clearly wanting my approval. I said, “Carter and Cole, you are my strong men!” Carter turns to me and points to himself and says, “Me?” as if asking if this could really be true, searching deep in my eyes for the validation. I said, “Yes, you, you precious boy!” He went off hopping along and saying, “I’m a strong man, I’m a strong man!” In remembering this precious moment I often find myself getting chocked up.
We all need it, it is life-giving. It is the reminder of hope in a decaying world. The beauty we find in the ugliness and blackness that can be. We all want to feel important and matter to someone. We all need encouragement. It’s the curse of the fall, the banishment from the Garden of Eden, the dealings with our own heart on how we failed in the matter. It is a reminder that all things are not utterly hopeless, and that the promise is real.
Why do you think that God gives us the beauty of nature? Why do long lines and smoky restaurants drive us crazy? We need to be reminded in this day to day struggle, in this daily grind that can so easily wear us down to thread bare, that we were made for something so much more.
Men were made to be warriors, wild and free, in the image of the Ultimate Warrior; conquering, strong, heroes…image bearers of Christ. I was amazed as I watched my Dad come alive after watching the movie “Amazing Grace” the amazing movie about abolitionist William Wilberforce. It was a great epic tail of ultimate triumph under insurmountable odds. It showed a man in the greatest light and I found myself looking at my Dad seeing his desire for that greatness. I thought of him as a little boy playing Cowboy and Indians, or saving the world with his Chemistry Set. All men great and small want to feel the worth that they were created to bear. This world beats them down to nothing, telling them to stuff those desires down, be civilized, and fill your day with mundane and deadening routine.
Women were made to be captivating, the image bearer of Christ’s very heart of desire and need of being wanted. They were created as a beautiful helper for man. They were designed to be a salvation in times of struggle. They are such an important part of the story. However, we have taken their beauty and squashed it into the ground, we have said if you do not look this way, or act this way you are nothing. We sell little girls the image that sex equates love, and in order to get attention you must be revealing and provocative. We shatter the dream of being a real princess, and we replace it with duty at church, at work, at home. There is no adventure only routine. Day in day out, a deadening of the soul.
We seek approval, and we often sell our soul for a cheap imitation of it. Why do girls stumble to the first rock that rolls along their path and says, “You are pretty!” Why do men spend more time at work, watching sports, or delving into pornography than spending time with their wives and kids? Why are women taking up every duty at church, running the PTA, and trekking their kids to every extra curricular event known to man? We are moving, but we are so dead inside. If we stop moving we feel, and to feel is to realize what we don’t have, and it becomes far too much. So, we busy ourselves and we hurry with our tasks that are killing us, and all the while Jesus is asking for us to sit at His feet.
I see the need for encouragement, love, and compassion wherever I go. I feel it with the reaction of my children when I pay them a compliment or when I scold them. The world is aching and the church is broken, and we seemingly can give no help to anyone. Selfishness, bitterness, and resentment grow, marriages fall apart, affairs just happen, suicide comes and quiets the screaming.
Oh God be with us! Restore the vision! Help us to reach out to a lost and dying world, both within the church and without. We have people dying and hurting, and broken. They need encouragement, they need real love. They just need.
Encouragement is vital, just as vital as oxygen, just as vital as food and water. I encourage you to encourage someone today.