Grace Short Meditations: 26. Encouraging Grace
2 Thess 2:16 “God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope.”
I have watched over the years two extreme Christians. First there is the ‘ever-joyful’, the ‘ever-triumphant’ who seem to live on a cloud of euphoria yet sadly being quite unreal about their fragile state. They need to hold on to that euphoria to cover up the fragility of their faith that has never been deeply thought through or prayed through. Lovely people, but fragile. And then on the other extreme there are those from Winnie the Pooh stories who are the Eeyore’s of this world, ever gloomy. And yet there are some in that group who are better described as the Puddle Glums of C.S.Lewis’s Narnia story, always sounding down yet somehow coming through to the good. These extreme characterizations point us to a truth: we live in a fallen world and we frequently need encouraging.
Let’s be honest, there are days when the sun isn’t shining and the day ahead looks bleak and you feel rubbish. We’re all part of the “Dull Bleak Rubbish Day Club” at some time or other, but today’s verse reminds us that God is in the business of bringing us encouragement that will go on and on and on.
Listening in the quiet time is often a favourite subject and part of the learning programme is learning not to reject the words you hear but can’t believe: “Good morning wonderful daughter,” or “Son you are really doing well. I’ve watched how the enemy has come against you and I’ve been thrilled by the way you persevered,” and “Child, I have been watching over you and been so blessed how you’ve grown.” Believe it! It is true, His words to you.
1 John 2:12-14 is a lovely part of John’s writing that is all about him encouraging his readers. To his ‘children’, young believers who he reminds are living lives of forgiveness, to ‘fathers’, older more mature believers, who encountered Jesus early in their lives and have walked with him for many years, to ‘young men’, those no longer mere babes but in the warrior years of their lives, who hold a land taken from the enemy. All these reminders come as encouragements, all different expressions of grace. He runs the ground again: young believers, remember the wonder of knowing the Father; mature believers, rejoice in the wonder of the Faithful One who you’ve known as unchanging throughout the years; young warriors rejoice in the strength He has given you, His word that lives in you, and your position of overcomers. How lovely is that: encouragement that reminds us of the truth of who we are and what Christ has brought us to. Encouragement – cheer, reassurance, inspiration – all forms of grace. Be an encourager.