“We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation.” Hebrews 6:9 NLT
Our friendship is ten years old. I met him when things in my life had taken a turn south. He was my middle brother’s pastor and had been a pastor to my parents. In spite of how bleak I imagined my future to be, he continued to tell me, “Marty, God’s not through with you. He has a plan.” My wife and I eventually joined the church he pastored where we continued to build our friendship with our new pastor and his family. At the end of one particular year, the youth pastor resigned, and my encouraging friend asked if I’d like the position of Associate Pastor. I accepted, and for two years we worked together. During that time, he continued to remind me God had a plan. He was convinced greater things were in store and told me so often. God awarded me the gift of a pick-me-up . . . not in the form of medicine but in the person of a good friend.
Turning my back on God is possible but unfathomable. These early Christians had been warned of the dangers of doing so, but the author doesn’t think they will. Better things are in store for them. He picks them up by speaking optimism and encouragement into their lives.
My friend was a healer of my spirit. His words brought peace in my soul. Hearing someone speak hope into my future was enough to get me through another night and day. When I do this for others, the same occurs. By encouraging them, I’m encouraged.
Life is filled with disappointments, but their appearance doesn’t mean God has forgotten me. Through the tough times, he weaves his plan and accomplishes his purpose for me: being formed into the likeness of Christ. The trials wart off laziness because it takes hard emotional and spiritual effort to pattern the various threads of life.
I’m a product of my past-the tough times included, but I choose not to be a prisoner. They’re a part of my baggage God uses to encourage others that a brighter future lies ahead. Who can you encourage today?