Encouragement

Things May Look Better Turned Inside-Out or Upside-Down

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, was so unhappy about missing Halloween because of his cold and flu that it seemed like nothing would lighten him up. Ruby had told me before she put Ed on the phone, “You need to butter him up with encouragement. He can’t stand being sick and missing the fun of Halloween has him acting like he sold the farm and is doomed. The flu has hung on for more than two weeks, and he is as touchy as a skunk.”

When Ed came on the phone, I got an earful, “I still have this miserable flu and cold. I should be over it by now. I’m stuck at home, and the wife is threatening to let me suffer alone. Nobody cares about you when you’re sick. I went for coffee at the restaurant one morning, and my coffee buddies moved to another table just because I coughed a couple of time. They nick-named me, Typhoid Ed. There is no one to give you encouragement when you’re sick.”

I told Ed that it probably feels that way to him. I asked him if he had been to the doctor. He has been twice, and the Doctor said that rest and drinking lots of fluids are the answers to the flu, but not whiskey. My old neighbor threatened that he would go the veterinary if the flu continued much longer.

Encouragement is powerful medicine, but it is no easy matter to share it with those who need it. Being down and depressed needs to be turned off or at least turned upside-down, and inside-out. Encouragement happens when there is a change in perspective for the better. I tried to have Ed admit that he was at least feeling some better than he was. His response was, “Better but not good enough.”

I offered the encouragement to Ed that compared to being blind, or fighting cancer; he was fortunate that it was only the flu. He said that I might have a point, but he was tired of talking with me and had to hang up.

No one likes to be sick or suffering chronic health problems, but when we are healthy, we are not necessarily happy to be in good health. The truth is what we think of being blessed or happy may not be to our benefit. Jesus came to earth to turn our thinking and acting up-sided down and inside-out. Wealth, power, or authority are not equal to happiness. Jesus came to bring to light what God applauds for earth from heaven through his example in his life, death, and resurrection.

In the fifth chapter of Matthew, Jesus taught that: God applauds the poor in Spirit, He cheers the mourners, He favors the meek, He smiles upon those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, He honors the merciful, He welcomes the pure in heart, He claps for the peacemakers, and He rises to greet the persecuted. God had wonderful news for the world in Jesus Christ his Son. He was humble or poor in the power of the world but not of God. He rescued sinners so they could become humble, caring, merciful, pure in heart, sons and daughters of God on earth and in heaven after death.

 

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Raymond Maher
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