Encouraging Words

Graphic typographic illustration of the Christian concept of salvation. Art composed of mixed typefaces of associated words and concepts.

Today’s Reading:  2 Samuel 13; 2 Corinthians 6; Ezekiel 20; Psalms 66–67

Do you sometimes have days when you just need an encouraging word? We had one of those days this week.  In order to get my kids to school, then make it to the office in time for an 8am meeting, we needed to leave our house as close to 7:15am as possible.  This past Wednesday morning, my fourth grader couldn’t find one of her shoes.  At 7:18 she stood in the mud room with one shoe in hand and gave me a very helpless look.  We were already late.  I simply told her to wear another pair, then headed to the car.  This was NOT the answer she wanted to hear.  After a few minutes, she finally came out to the car with a different pair of shoes in hand.  She was discouraged and I was frustrated.

A pretty minor issue, but that was NOT the way we wanted to start our day. We needed some encouraging words.  I reminded my kids that this was the day that the Lord made.  Because his mercies are new every morning, we get the opportunity to start new every single day.  Unfortunately, we don’t often make good choices on our own.  We need God’s guidance and support.  We definitely needed it to change the course of our day on Wednesday.

Our assigned scripture reading for today started with the dark and discouraging story of Amnon and Tamar in 2 Samuel 13 – a man raping his brother’s sister, then being murdered by his brother for what he deemed to be an unforgiveable act. In 2 Corinthians 6:4-5, Paul’s account of what he endured throughout his mission to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ sounds awful – afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights and hunger. Then, for thirty-two verses, the prophet Ezekiel gives a depressing account of the Israelites’ consistent rebellion against God.  The next seventeen verses of Ezekiel 6, verses 33-49, are prophesy about restoration, but not necessarily the kind of restoration the Israelites were expecting.  God’s plan for restoration included judgment and wrath.

“As I live, declares the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out I will be king over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord God (Ezekiel 20:33-26).

After reading today’s scripture in 2 Samuel, 2 Corinthians and Ezekiel 20, I needed encouragement. I found it in Psalms 66-67, our fourth passage for today. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me (Psalm 6:19-20).

God answered our prayer for a new start on Wednesday. Annika had a good day at school and I had a good, productive day at the office.  Thank you God.