Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road? Luke 24:32
I know how I feel when the Spirit of God speaks to me. It’s especially meaningful when I need Him the most. It’s wonderful, it’s convicting, it even causes me to ache for my future home with Jesus. I bet I feel like the group Luke describes. They were walking down the road; Jesus showed up and began to share with them. They didn’t recognize Him until afterward when they reviewed how they had felt when He spoke to them. They described the experience like this ~’Did our hearts not burn within us as He talked?.’
What is it your hurting friend needs most? I often struggle to know how to reach out, having exhausted all my creativity to make a dent in their place of pain. But really, what they need is a word, a touch, from Jesus. When we speak, or sit beside them, or send a card, or extend meaningful touches, we should leave them feeling that something sacred occurred. The memory of us being there should be akin to feeling that their ‘heart burned within them.’
This series will explore twelve creative ways to extend encouragement. Each suggestion helps lay a groundwork for God to show up. So, who is it for whom your heart aches? Who is it that has drained you of internal resources? Who is it that is no longer affected by anything you do or say and you wonder what you should do next? There are things we can do and there are things we can say. Gestures will only make a spiritual impact if the Spirit has fueled them. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be offering one suggestion a day. Think of it. That person you care about, the one who has shut himself or herself away into a place that is hard to reach, they just might feel Jesus’ touch.
Twelve encouragement skills can be perceived as twelve formulas. Know that they are not and I need to qualify something. You and I can’t give away what we first don’t posses for ourselves! If I don’t work out my own theology of pain and God’s sovereignty, I will not be able to provide the deep soul care others need despite my best efforts. My words will ring hollow and they will be able to see through me. Credibility builds a successful bridge.
Someone who knows Jesus well can say just a few words and I’m changed. Someone who has not been with Jesus in a long time, and exerts effort from their own heart, can say a hundred words and fail to move me. I received a note some time back from someone I hadn’t seen in a while. The note simply said, “He has heard your cry.” This note came on a day when I had asked the Lord if He was listening. I was discouraged, weary in prayer, so for this note to arrive meant a lot to me. The one who wrote it was undoubtedly nudged by God to write just one sentence. She was obedient. Five words, Spirit-driven, gave me my breakthrough.
Prepare our ears, then our hands, to do Your work of compassion. Amen