Our daughter was sick for a week battling a nasty winter bug. She coughed day and night, literally, and fought off fevers with medications, cool baths, and time. But one particular medication worked better than all the others: Encouragement.
You know. A card comes in the mail (thank you, Candie!) and you get phone calls or texts from family and friends who care and miss you, and someone even stops by with a little chocolate they deliver at arm’s length to lift your spirits. Suddenly the cloudy, germ-infested bubble you’ve been in for days lets in a little light. Your smile ignores the fever. The cough comes again, but this time it’s not alone; laughter shows up, telling that illness, “Your days are numbered so enjoy them while you can, buddy boy.” Laughter is pretty tough like that.
Of course God uses us to encourage one another, to bring out smiles and revive the laughter. But what about when God Himself shows up to encourage you, to offer you a hug when you need it most. Let me explain:
My daughter and I were at the drugstore, waiting on her prescription and passing time by admiring all of the discounted Valentine’s Day chocolates and stuffed animals. I do love a good sale on chocolate! There was a sea of adorable stuffed animals: frogs, bears, dogs, and one enormous bear about the size of my daughter. She of course fell in love with every one of them as I remained strong. Yeah, right. We circled around the store and found another aisle of stuffed animals on sale. I rolled my eyes and said, “Sure we can look,” as I followed her. That’s when we saw the most adorable stuffed bear. She picked him up, handed him to me, and I was in trouble. Those cute little eyes and the softness of his fuzzy curls, and I was in BIG trouble.
But her prescription was ready, so I put the little guy back, saddened as I noticed he was the only one just like him, and we went back to the pharmacy. I felt a tug, this dragging-my-feet sensation as we got in line. Silly, right? My daughter looked at me, not realizing how much I liked that bear, and said, “He sure was cute.” I stared back at her, took a deep breath, and agreed with her on the way back to get him.
We had so much fun with our new family member, Winston, on the way home. We admired him in all his adorableness, talked for him, told stories about his waiting for a family in the store, how others picked on him, and how he felt when we put him down and walked away. (Did I mention we both have rather large imaginations?)
But only God knew days later it would be my turn to get sick and with everyone out of the house, I was going to feel cooped up in that bubble and a little lonely. Thankfully, God nudged me days before to go back and get Winston, so I was able to stand in our living room and be encouraged and comforted by God through a wonderful, fuzzy hug. Of course, the smile came right after.
If you’re in need of some encouragement today, my friend, God is with you and I’m praying for you. And Winston is sending you a hug.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV.)