Therefore encourage [comfort] one another with these words.
— 1 Thessalonians 4:18 (HCSB)
With what words? The reminder of Christ’s coming. That He is coming again.
For Christ comes in every moment of encouragement that lifts us out of a secret dolour that only the interceding Spirit knows anything about. Certainly the person who brings us a word of encouragement has no idea what it means. That shows us God’s Presence is incisive and all-knowing. God knows when we need a lift, and such a lift is often so perfectly timed and unique in its manner of coming.
The Presence of the living and active Lord is resplendent in a hidden way in every word of encouragement. That’s because the word is given at a time when we richly need it; when others wouldn’t know what it actually means. And when we choose to obey that gentle nudge of the Spirit, through a specific and well-timed word that we give, we never know how God will encourage us back.
When we lack encouragement most could be the very time God wants us to encourage others most. Not that we encourage others so we ourselves are encouraged, because that would make our encouragement fail its own integrity test.
But in our encouragement of others, God is able to show us the love we’re capable of, particularly if our prospects are down. Besides, there is the fact that He has spoken to us in that nudge, and that of itself is an encouragement — that God is using us, and that in encouraging someone we’re being obedient. There’s no better encouragement.
Nothing speaks of God’s Presence more saliently than a word of encouragement delivered in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s nudge.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.