Encouragement Skill #1


Just hours after the towers fell on 9/11, a recovery team heard cries for help and discovered part of a stairwell that had survived surprisingly in tact.  They found a half dozen people huddled  (all strangers before that morning) and embracing each other as hours before, everything around them roared and crumbled.  This shows us in a stunning way that when hard times come, we need to know that we are not alone.

Pain isolates us from other people and we begin to believe that no one has ever gone through what we are experiencing and that what we are feeling is unique.  We feel lonely.  Is there anything worse than believing you are alone and no one cares or understands?

God made us for community, not isolation.  He created us to be interdependent, not independent.  While we are not to be parasitic, we can humble ourselves to need others in a healthy way. It’s possible to need God and people.  Needing another to walk beside us doesn’t mean that our faith is not enough.  It means that we know God often expresses Himself through another believer.

Perhaps you are already fully engaged in this series because you love and care for people. You’re already thinking about a way to communicate to them that they do not suffer alone.  There are many ways to say it and show it.  Send a card, or a text, and know that just one line can make such a difference in someone’s survival.  Examples ~

  • Though I don’t always tell you, God brings you to my mind so often and I pray for you.
  • I struggle to find the words to tell you that my heart hurts when you are hurting.  
  • I woke up in the night thinking about you.  Though we are apart, in Christ we are connected. 
  • As I prayed for you, Jesus gave me a heart for you and what you are going through.  I felt the heaviness of your situation.

A neonatal nurse who worked in a pediatric hospital once told the story of twin boys who were born early, each under three pounds.  They were placed together in an incubator.  One was healthier than the other and the prognosis for the smaller child was poor.  One morning when the nurse came in to start her shift, she noticed that the strong brother had his arm wrapped around the weak one.  This happened more than once over the next few weeks and the weak one lived.

Paul the apostle is usually perceived as someone strong and independent, yet he said of a woman named Pheobe, Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.  Romans 16:2  We’re not told what Phoebe did but however she expressed God’s care, it imparted supernatural strength to Paul.

How will you let your hurting friend know they are not alone today?  Ask God to give you just the right words.

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