Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Encourage the discouraged
Pastor's Corner

September 06, 2012

Many times encouragement comes through affliction. We would rather not have any challenging hardships but it is often in the difficulties we find growth, insight and a new purpose and vision.

There was a very attractive Christian girl in India who was about to be married. however, sores appeared on her hands, and it was discovered she had leprosy. Now she would have to be sent to the leper asylum

As she walked with her brother into that awful place where dirt and filth were everywhere and faces were affixed with sadness and gazes of hopelessness, she wept on her brother’s shoulder.

“My God,” she said, “is this my plight also?”

The missionaries sympathized with her and asked her if she would like to be a help to those poor women. A ray of hope came to her and she caught the vision. She started a school, teaching the women to sing, read and write. She could play the organ so the missionaries bought her a folding organ. She was now able to fill the whole space with beautiful music. With her encouragement, the place was made neat and clean. The women washed their clothes and combed their hair; and that dismal place became a place of blessing.

After being there for some time, she said, “When I first came to the leper asylum , I doubted that there was a God. Now I know that God had work for me to do and if I had not become a leper, I never would have discovered my work. Every day I live, I thank God for having sent me here and that God has given me this work to do.”

Sometimes when afflictions strike and severe discouragement confronts us, we are prone to exclaim, “Woe is me” and bemoan our sorrowful fate. We can forget that God has the power to transform tribulation, tragedy and testing into triumph.

This is what God did for all of us in the cross of Jesus Christ. Discipleship means participating en every aspect of the call, the miraculous as well as the dangerous in which one literally loses one’s life for the sake of the gospel.

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, once said, “Rejoice in your hope in Christ, be patient in suffering, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12). There is always something that can be done regardless of the darkness of the day.

Encourage the discouraged.

The Rev. Fred Harms is senior pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Grosse Pointe Farms.