This year, my one word focus is courage. It’s fine to have such a focus. It’s great to want to obtain courage. It’s awesome when God blesses you with it.
But let’s face it. Just because we want something and even if God wants us to have it, that doesn’t mean we get it right now, right here, just like we hope.
But that’s OK too, because it teaches us to wait on the Lord and keep praying and keep working at what we know to do. It teaches us to trust.
And it gives us an opportunity to let God use other people to help with His work in our lives.
In those times, we know one of the loving benefits of being part of a community of believers. Remember Paul? He prayed for God’s churches in all kinds of circumstances.
When we ask others for prayer, we know that we haven’t abandoned our faith; or that God has abandoned us. Believers can cover us in prayer and can stand in the gap for us until we are able once again to focus our prayer life and our faith in the direction God has been all the while.
Courage is like that.
Sometimes we can find courage within ourselves to do what we fear, to face what we feel incapable of facing, to mount up and accomplish the un-accomplishable.
Other times, we miraculously set aside our own efforts and ask God to work through us. And He does, accomplishing what we never thought possible; doing through us what we felt unable to do on our own.
And folks, there are other times when we can gain courage from others. Inspirational books can show us how other people have done things. Flawed characters in scripture show us how God used even them to accomplish His purpose. And we can rely on real-life, real-time courage from others in our lives today.
If we have not the courage ourselves, we can borrow some from others.
Do we not know how to do something we need to do? We can rely on knowledge and expertise of others.
Do we not feel capable of doing something God is calling us to do? We can rely on the truth of what others have done or the capabilities they see in us that we are blind to.
When we gain knowledge, we are enlightened.
When we receive vitality, we are invigorated.
When we borrow courage, we become encouraged.
You've seen the power of encouragement in others. You can receive it yourself. It’s hard for some of us to ask for help. But encouragement we can accept. By understanding that encouragement comes in many forms: prayer, time, effort, words and actions—it makes it easier to borrow the courage we need so that we can remain encouraged until true courage is becomes a part of who we are.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the encouragement you send our way; either directly through your Holy Spirit, through examples in scripture and through people in our lives. Help us also be an encouragement to others in your name. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are you an encourager of others? Are you able to say or do just the right thing at the right time to the right person to help them over a hump or a slump in their lives?