God is so good. He sends just what I need when I need it. His provision can come through a word from a friend or through His Word, but however it comes, it comes.
I am writing a book about a painful time in the life of our family. I continually wonder if I should be writing it and, at the end of the day, think who cares that our family suffered through some rough times. Everyone has struggles and problems, right? Why do I think we are so special that a book needs to be written?
This morning I read about Barnabas, the Encourager, and sensed that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit saying, "this is why you are writing the book." That nudging from the Holy Spirit confirmed what friends have said about the book. Barnabas encouraged Paul and John Mark and Peter in their ministries and helped resolve conflicts between Paul and John Mark. He encouraged them to work through the problems with the goal of reaching the multitudes for the newly-risen Christ. Our story will encourage parents.
I received a phone call late Friday afternoon from a friend with whom I worked several years ago. We have kept in contact and occasionally talk on the phone. She called to let me know her 28-year-old son is in jail on several felony charges, and he has a bond hearing on Wednesday. The charges will be reduced to misdemeanors and probably dropped altogether. He will be released from jail on Wednesday according to his attorney; therein the reason for her call.
He is a drug addict and has no place to go upon his release. She called me for help in finding treatment for her son. I made a phone call and arranged for his placement in a facility in another county. I called her back to let her know the arrangements were made and there is a bed waiting for him--if he wants help.
After she calmed down, I asked if I could pray with her and she said "yes." I prayed for her son and then for her. I asked the God of the Universe to fill her with His peace, the peace that passes all human understanding. I encouraged her to be strong and to do what she had to do; to take care of herself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
She thanked me for helping her and then hung up with a new sense of hope and encouragement. I came away from the conversation encouraged that the Lord used me to help and strengthen a broken-hearted mother. I cannot fix her son and neither can she. That is his decision and choice. It is difficult for a parent to understand and grasp with both hands, that at some point, our children make their own decisions. We cannot fix our children when they are broken. We can stand beside them as they struggle and hold their hands, but we cannot fix all their boo-boos. This is the message of my book: to offer hope, encouragement and strength to hurting parents in the face of overwhelming despair and hopelessness.
Dear Jesus, thank you for encouraging me to encourage others. Thank you for giving me the life experiences that qualify me to encourage the broken-hearted and discouraged. I thank you that your Word says, "arise, shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord will shine on you." I thank you that the light of mercy and grace shines in my heart. My prayer is that it radiates outward and touches many for your Kingdom. I thank you for the lesson of Barnabas this morning and how you used a single man to impact your work here on earth through simple words and deeds of encouragement. Continue to place in my heart a Barnabas spirit.