“There’s something different about you Tim, your not like most people around here… more people should be like you, a fighter!” I learned a long time ago that encouragement is one of my gifts from God. So comments like this shouldn’t amaze me but they always do. I struggled to find the right words as a neighbor shared this over coffee last week, and all I could come up with was “thanks.”
I would like to take credit for the times people see me as a power house, source of strength or what have you, but the truth is that strength is not my own. Psalm 121:2 says:
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
I have a couple “friends by book” … I guess they are more appropriately “friends through circumstance,” who share the same scenario as mine last week. One of these friends is Joni Eareckson Tada. Being asked the same question she often shares this story:
“After my husband, Ken, leaves for work at 6:00 a.m., I’m alone until I hear the front door open at 7:00 a.m. That’s when a friend arrives to get me up…While I listen to her make coffee, I pray, ‘Oh, Lord, my friend will soon give me a bath, get me dressed, sit me up in my chair, brush my hair and teeth, and send me out the door. I don’t have the strength to face this routine one more time. I have no resources. I don’t have a smile to take into the day. But You do. May I have Yours? God, I need You desperately.’ I turn my head toward her and give her a smile sent straight from heaven. It’s not mine. It’s God’s. And so,” I said, gesturing to my paralyzed legs, “whatever joy you see today was hard won this morning.”
One of my newer “friends via circumstance” Nick Vujicic says, “Anything good that you see in me, is not me as a Christian, its God being gracious and showing up in me.”
I too echo the words of my comrade’s. My life isn’t always a bed of roses. I have days where I get down in the dumps and go through the motions, just waiting for the day to end. In my life its true, any strength or encouragement you see in me, does not come from me. It’s God using me in the moment. The reason and how fore is meaningless. Your strength or encouragement is all that matters.