Let’s Be Encouragers

by | Jan 9, 2024 | Comfort, Encouragement, Holy Spirit

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4 NLT)

Many years ago, a young girl in my Grade One class stood out from the other students in a few ways. To begin with, her speech was hard to understand, and her actions belied her actual age. She often had tantrums, and would sometimes run out of the classroom, screaming. She was not able to keep up with the other children, who finished their work easily and quickly. Today, she might be labelled “special needs”. Her parents were shocked when I told them she was being uncooperative in the classroom, and would complain about me to other parents, and even to the teacher whose room was nearby. “Is my child really as disruptive as Mrs. B. says?” she asked.

“Oh, yes, sometimes she’s off the wall!” replied my loyal co-worker. The whole situation was troubling. Another parent decided to sit in while I taught for the morning and saw for herself the theatrics that went on.

“You’re doing a great job!” she said to me later. Her encouragement and support comforted me, and I was able to weather the rest of the school year.

The word “comfort” has several meanings. We think of it as in the parent who came to the school to comfort another of my Grade One children who was hysterical at the thought of getting a routine injection. The mother came to soothe her crying child.

In the original Greek of the New Testament, the word “comfort” in the above verse is *paraklēsis*, close to the Greek word *paraklētos*, Comforter, whom we know as the Holy Spirit. In other translations He is also called the Strengthener, Standby, Helper, or Advocate.

According to Webster’s dictionary, one definition of “comfort”, purportedly obsolete, is *strengthening aid, support, or encouragement*.

The parent who encouraged me was a believer; her source of comfort was God the Father Himself. As God’s messenger, she passed along the same encouragement that was within her to me, who was unable to appropriate it in the heat of the moment.

Since then, I’ve pondered the responsibility of being an encourager to those around me. The situation in that particular classroom is one of the life experiences that has prepared me to see the various ways I can serve others. God has comforted me many times, pouring encouragement into my life either directly, or through others, and I can pass on this same comfort, encouragement, and support to others who are troubled. In a world that needs encouragement, will you do the same?

Alice Burnett
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada


Let’s Be Encouragers