I love how God is good at being a genius! He always sees our hearts and is attentive to our needs. He is the best friend I have ever had, because he is always around and always listening to me. He does not always answer my prayers in my timing or the way I want him to; however, I have learned to rest and trust and simply walk with him. He is really awesome at encouraging me, especially when I ask and need it the most.
Back in early 2016, it was a cold and cloudy day. I had experienced some difficult weeks with back to back meetings, living out of a suitcase and very long hours. The cloud of adversity loomed over these particular weeks and nothing seemed easy to accomplish, even simple ordinary tasks.
I continued to find my joy in the fact that God was with me and I had overcome many other obstacles in my life; however, I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted and personally needed some encouragement.
As I walked into a local meeting, I whispered a simple prayer, “Lord, you know me and know my heart. Encourage me today.” I ate my lunch, visited with a few colleagues and decided I really needed to get back to the office so after about 30 minutes, I left the meeting a little early, briskly walking back to my car.
“Excuse me,” said a deep voice from a man doing some landscaping. “Are you Kathleen Maxwell that writes for the paper?” the voice continued. “This is David (not his real name). Our sons played ball together years ago and your husband, Joe, coached,” he said.
“Oh yes, I recognize you now, but that has been 15 years ago!” I said. “ A lot has changed, how is your son?” I asked. We chatted a few minutes about our boys, where they were and what they are doing now.
“I have been wanting to talk to you and told God if I ever saw you, I would share with you what a difference you made in my life,” the bright eyed African-American gentleman shared. “I made some wrong choices in life and found myself in jail, and while I was locked up, I began to read your articles,” he continued. “I saved every one of them and shared them with other inmates. They changed my heart and I gave my heart to God and He gave me hope. They showed me that God really loved me and had forgiven me and had a plan for my life,” David continued. “I even shared them with the chaplain and he began to use them in chapel. Now, I want to share with others what God has done for me and I want to thank you,” he shared. “I just wanted you to know how you help me and that your writing makes a difference.”
By this time, I was a puddle of tears! God normally doesn’t answer my prayers in 30 minutes but he did that day, just when I needed it the most.
I shared with David that I had just prayed, less than an hour ago, asking God to encourage my heart, and of all the people in the world, God chose him to answer.
“Do not ever doubt God’s hand on your life, David.” I encouraged him. “God used you today to encourage me and answer my prayer.” We visited a little longer and I was able to pray with him about a few things he shared. I headed to my car with a big smile on my face, reflecting on the goodness of God and how He touched my heart that day. I also thought of how short life really is and think about the call God has on my life.
Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily…” and I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Encourage one another and build each other up…” Everyone needs encouragement and all of us need someone cheering us on. God may want to use you today to encourage someone in your family, your workplace, or in our community. Our words, written or spoken, either speak life or death to others.
Who can you encourage today? I challenge you to look around and ask God who you can encourage. Someone you are around today needs encouragement. God does not look at our qualifications or our past mistakes. He looks for willing vessels he can use to touch others.
If you need encouragement, ask God to encourage you. He is the one we always need to turn to when we have a need. It will be exciting to see how he chooses to answer your prayer and the person he uses.
That encounter with David not only encouraged me on a dreary day, but boosted my faith and put a spring in my step. God is never too busy to hear the simplest prayer. He cares for you and me and loves walking with us through each and every day.