February 15, 2020
Encourage One Another
And David was greatly distressed . . . but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. – 1 Samuel 30:6
When my children were young, they loved a backyard campout. Armed with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cookies, and milk or lemonade to drink, they would spend the night in the “wild.”
Early in the evening, they would roast marshmallows around a small campfire. A few good friends would join the excitement, and the scary stories began as soon as darkness descended. The stories usually started out fairly tame, then progressed to headless horsemen and monsters that come to haunt in mysterious ways. When the fire died out, they would be so scared! There would be a mad dash for the flashlights and sleeping bags because covering up their heads took care of all the monsters.
Lately, it seems that if you pick up a paper or turn on the news, you could end up racing for your “flashlight and sleeping bag!” We are warned that there might be a biological bug on the bus we take, or a bomb under our plane seat. We hear ads that say, “Take this pill to extend your life, but check with your doctor…it could kill you!” If we vote for one candidate, we are told we are in for a horrible future; but if we vote for the other, things could be even worse.
In the text that our focus verse comes from, David was in dire straits. His situation was not because of a scary story or a prediction from the media; he was truly in a life-threatening situation. Being pursued by Saul, who had murderous intentions, David was hiding out with his band of men for safety. Then their families had been taken captive and they were devastated. His men were talking of stoning him, but David knew where to find the help he needed. He took his troubles to God, and encouraged himself in the Lord.
While our circumstances may not be as drastic as David’s, we can still encourage ourselves and others in the Lord. Ephesians 4:29 mentions that our positive conversation actually ministers grace to those who hear us. For this reason, even when we feel bombarded by bad news, our purpose can be to talk about God and all the wonderful things He does, or a particularly inspiring sermon or song we have heard. We can encourage or discourage; it is our choice. We can discuss the good and hopeful things and “keep our heads out of the sleeping bag,” or we can discuss all the fearful things around us and run for cover. If we remember that God is in control, we have reason to be positive. We are never alone, and we can encourage ourselves and others with this knowledge.