This weekend God gave us a gift of encouragement. A gift that was unexpected and as random as they come :)
God loves to encourage His children. Encouragement and hope is important for our souls! Proverbs 13:12 tells us, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."
And encouragement can come is so many different forms.
-All through the Old Testament, God is sending His prophets to encourage the people through verbal messages from God. Isaiah 40:1 "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God."
-Today, we have His Word which is an ever present reminder of His promises and encouragement to press on. Romans 15:4 "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."
-Many times He gifts people as encouragers and we should be looking for ways to encourage others.
I Thessalonians 3:2 "and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and encourage you in your faith."
And- Barnabas, whose name means "son of encouragement", was used in a mighty way by God to bring Saul (Paul) into fellowship with the other apostles.
Back to the encouragement that God gave us this weekend . . .
It came in the form of two couples from Alabama. People we had never met and might never again. They were traveling to South Africa to enjoy God's incredible creation and get in some good scuba diving.
Their plan was to fly into Durban (2 hours south of us), drive to Richards Bay (our town) and spend the night before continuing on north. Out of curiosity, one of the wives googled "baptist missionary Richards Bay". Our website popped up! She read our information and contacted us about meeting that Saturday night.
What a delightful evening. The 9 of us sat around a table at a restaurant, telling travel stories, asking questions about each other, sharing the ministry of the Care Home and laughing a lot! They brought gifts for the girls and a box of solar powered audio Bibles (little MP3 players) for our ministry. We left with light hearts, fully encouraged by complete strangers who had followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and desired to be a blessing.
Sunday morning, they stopped by the Care Home on their way north. We introduced them to the patients, gave a quick tour, had a time of prayer and then our new friends were off. One of the wives quietly said to me, "Press on". Wow, those two words made my heart soar. Could anything be more powerful than another Christian, in recognition of the battle before us, whispering "press on"?