The Gift of Encouragement

Did I get one yesterday!

The last few months have been difficult for a number of reasons, not the least of all is some health issues I’ve had to deal with. The health issues are getting behind me now, I hope, but some of the other stresses surrounding my life seem to be festering again.

I get a lot of encouraging mail, but yesterday someone took the time to write me a lengthy email just to tell me how the see Jesus reflecting through my life. It couldn’t have come at a more amazing time. I can’t work out again except to walk, so I’d just been on a two mile walk mulling over some things with God.  And while some interesting thoughts came to mind during the time, I always come back processing which of those were God’s thoughts and which were mine. Often I don’t answer that for days or weeks.

But yesterday I returned to an email in my inbox that couldn’t have been timed more perfectly.  And there were some phrasings in there that came straight out of my time with him. I rarely get such immediate or concrete confirmations, but because this lady took some time over the weekend to put some of her thoughts down and send them to me, my day seemed a bit more miraculous yesterday.  I was deeply touched. I wish I could share with you the email I got yesterday, but it would be horribly self-serving to do so.

It came from someone I’m just getting to know better, though they’ve been reading some of my stuff for awhile. I stayed with her and her husband once, very briefly and years ago, but more recently I had some longer time with her and her husband on a trip. Her email was not just about me or my writing, but also about what God had been shaping in her heart and mind by reading and listening to some of the things I’ve been involved in. And it had the time arc of more than a decade so some of the longer-term fruit could be recognized and celebrated.  Some of my things had helped her recognize and affirm what God had already put on her heart and gave her the courage to follow it, even when others around her were less encouraging.  She talked about a newfound hunger for Scripture, how much she’s enjoying the work of God refining her, and the joy of meeting other people I know in the world. (I do know some pretty amazing people.) She closed with a Scripture verse for me that touched my heart.

After sitting with it for a few hours, I wrote her back:

“What an incredibly sweet letter to brighten my day!  Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts together and sending me such an encouraging email.  in the midst of my recovery here.  I was deeply touched, not only by your appreciation for my life, but even more for the work that it has encouraged in your own. I love that God continues to prune, refine, and recalibrate us so that we can live every more freely and daringly in his reality, instead of being lost in our own perceptions and preferences.  I get to meet some of the most amazing people on the planet and see firsthand what God is doing in them to shape his glory in them. Watching those people love, relate, laugh and enjoy God and each other together is always a joy for me personally.  I am deeply touched this morning. More than you know some of the specific things you said have illuminated what God has been speaking to my heart in some key areas. I’m so grateful to receive this from you this morning.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!”

Why am I sharing this with you today, especially without all the details? Because I was reminded how powerful encouragement is, and following through on something God has put on your heart.   It isn’t always easy and it sometimes feels a bit weird, but you have no idea how much you touch someone when you just write them a note, however briefly, to tell them what they mean to you, how Jesus is reflected in the way they live their lives, and how your life has been touched by them.

None of us hear that enough. Why? Because most people are too busy fighting for their own survival that they don’t pause to think how much someone around them might be blessed by an encouraging word. The impact it had on me yesterday was profound. It shaped my entire day and probably this week.

And it is something that’s so easy to do for others.

A few days ago someone sent me a blog posting about a couple who’d lost their twenty-year-old daughter in a tragic car accident last week. Their daughter wasn’t the driver but in the article they referred to THE SHACK and how much it had helped them find God in their own tragedy. They encouraged everyone to go to the movie. A few minutes later I had the thought to call them just to encourage them in the pain of their loss. Yes, it felt weird. They are not going to know who I am and I’m not even sure what to say. Besides, I didn’t have their phone number. As I tried to talk myself out of it, I realized I might be resisting the very Spirit I seek to follow. A quick Internet search got me their number and a few moments later I was talking to both parents sharing a bit of what God was doing in them through their own grief and to let them know I’d be praying for them

Encouragement is the least costly thing you can give someone, but may also be the most priceless. Looking for a way to sneak into someone’s life and leave them with words that will draw their heart in gratefulness to God may be the best way you can impact someone else today.

That may be why Scripture tells us to “Encourage one another daily.”
No better gift.
No better time.

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10 Comments
  1. Mark Francis April 4, 2017 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Hi Wayne,
    Your post today was especially meaningful to me personally. I have come to see that encouragement in all forms (“natural”, spiritual and revelatory) are meant to be part of our “daily bread”, not only in receiving but also in giving. There are few things I love to do more than sit and write notes to others. It has become something for my journey that is as much life to me personally as it may be to others. I dream of creating tidal waves of encouragement from teams of people who seek only to release this powerful influence throughout the earth using every possible form of communication. Know that your comments and thoughts have been a touch of the Lord’s hand on my cheek to say, “keep going”. Thank you seems rather limiting, but is all I have to offer. Beyond this post, thank you for the courage to walk and share in the manner you have done. Your relationship with Jesus, with others like Paul, and your own writings have dramatically impacted my own heart and been food for my journey. I’m grateful.

  2. Pamela Wood April 4, 2017 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Well said, Wayne, well said.

  3. Ralaine April 4, 2017 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Wayne, I’m glad this sister encouraged you greatly. As I read your post I thought – Wayne is getting from one person the very thing he gives hundreds or easily thousands of us a few times each week. I forgot that those who encourage greatly also need encouragement. Thank you for the reminder. And thank you for the impact you have made on my life.

  4. Karl Ingersoll April 5, 2017 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Beautiful Wayne … pray about Grand Manan Island, in your travels. I missed you in PEI. Grand Manan is a soulful place that you bring therapy to you even as you bring something to people who may need you right now. I emailed you several years ago as I exited pastoral ministry. We agreed to pray. I wonder if the time has come.

  5. Daniel du Plessis April 5, 2017 at 3:21 am - Reply

    Wow Wayne!
    What an encouragement this letter is to me. My God given gifting is to encourage other people, but I have neglected it because I am so caught up in my own need for encouragement. God is speaking to me through this, that when we lift other’s up through our encouragement our spirits get lifted up.
    When your spirit is lifted up you can see more clearly.
    Thank you for your boldness to share something so private. I think that is what impress me the most.
    You are a true inspiration to me.
    Your book “He Loves me ” still encourages me on a regular basis. I have followed your advice after sharing with you a while ago, by starting to write my book with same title. It is going slow but at leat I have started.
    You are in my prayers for full recovery. Remember to rest as well and often.

    Your brother In Christ,
    Daniel du Plessis

  6. Ronald Snider April 5, 2017 at 5:37 am - Reply

    I just read you post Wayne and then I just this as part of a daily email i get. I thought they fit nicely together.
    The word “fellowship” used in Acts 2:42 and 1 John 1:3
    indicates the putting away of private interest and the
    joining with others for a certain common purpose. Hence, to
    have fellowship with the apostles, to be in the fellowship
    of the apostles, and to have fellowship with the Triune God
    in the apostles’ fellowship, is to put away our private
    interests and join with the apostles and the Triune God for
    the carrying out of God’s purpose. Our participation in the
    apostles’ enjoyment of the Triune God is our joining with
    them and with the Triune God for His divine purpose, which
    is common to God, the apostles, and all the believers.

  7. Bob Marisette April 5, 2017 at 6:26 am - Reply

    Wayne… I was so glad to read that someone took the time to encourage and bless you with their thoughts and revelations that Father is performing in their life. I often think, “I ought to write to Wayne or whomever about the things God is putting on my heart or is working-out in my life. Of course, “life” often gets in the way and the email/letter never gets written…
    I have been following your journey for 10-12 years now in a variety of ways and while I’ve sometimes contacted you by email and even got to meet you in Denver a couple(?) of years ago… I feel that I should let you know how much of a blessing you have been in my life as well. No, I don’t belong to the “First Church of Wayne”… 🙂 But, I certainly appreciate your insights, candor and thoughts around developing this relationship as we journey with our Triune God down the road of life.
    I was a career Marine and there was this one Chaplin I got to spend a year or so with in Iwakuni, Japan back in the early 80’s… his name was Stan Beach and his story is fascinating in and of itself. However, why I remember him so fondly is because I always remember him as the one person who truly lives-out his relationship with God. He represented to me the way a Christian life is supposed to be lived… he seemed to have mastered the balance of being completely loving and yet not compromising all the truth of God’s nature, i.e. wink at our corrupt or baser life choices. I always felt “safe” with him, even when I was far from my “best”. It was my memories of Stan and his “manner” that initially aided me when I and my best friend began questioning “how do you do church right?”
    Your gentle soul reminds me so much of him Wayne. I genuinely appreciate you and your contributions over the years in getting me to think and often go rest in Father to find answers I may have need of… whether He reveals them in a Scripture or through a fellow journeyer or whatever, your influences has helped me to allow Him to develop this remarkable relationship that I could never have imagined on my own.
    So… thank you Wayne… for being one of the gifts that Father has provided me over the years. There are others to be sure, but I truly have enjoyed you in a special way and look forward to whatever God has in store for us on down the road.
    Bob

  8. John Graham April 5, 2017 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Good word Wayne.
    A friend recently told me about a decision they had made, which I thought was wrong. I formed a reply in my mind criticising them but then realised that there was so much to say to encourage them. I call it gold digging. There’s gold in everyone and digging it out and telling people is a massive encouragement. They didn’t ask my opinion about the decision and in any case it wasn’t that big a deal. So instead of putting them down, hopefully I built them up.

  9. Christine M April 6, 2017 at 7:02 am - Reply

    I love this! I love to send notes, emails and buy gifts for people. It’s like a faucet that I have a hard time turning off (not that I want to, really). I’m not saying I’m perfect in this, but it is just something God has put in my heart to do. I want to touch a person’s life, I want them to hear how amazing they are to God and to others. Thank you for sharing this and for expressing it as well as you (always) do. God bless you!

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