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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Tuesday, September 8

And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them.
—1 Thessalonians 5:14

Human life is an incredible, immeasurable gift. It is also dicey. We are exposed to all kinds of circumstances and situations that leave us feeling impatient, hurt, weary, discouraged, lazy, or depressed. 

We've all had the experience of making a clear intention about our state of mind, our behavior, or our attitudes, only to find ourselves reacting in just the opposite way when an unexpected situation occurs. It is as if the new circumstances strip away our intentions like a power-saw shaving off the branches from a tree. Seemingly against our will, we find ourselves falling into patterns that are unnerving to others and destructive to ourselves.

Because we are so familiar with the fragility of human life, we know that the earth’s 6 billion people struggle in the same way. We also know that others do not respond favorably when we nag at them, try to control them, micro-manage them, or get angry at them.  God’s goodness descends on us daily, and our souls were created to bring that same goodness to those who have lost hope or are foundering in some way. 

When others display traits that make us angry, or tempt us to nag, or awaken our desire for control, we might try offering them encouragement instead. We might exercise patience with their frailties and find ways to strengthen them even in the midst of their acting out. In so doing we would in some way help restore them to peace and, most assuredly, we would find our own soul growing in compassion.

Gracious God, when others seem to be the cause of frustration, help me encourage them as you and others have encouraged me.