Interaction; May 9, 2023

Psalm 119:74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.

Some people are encouraging to be around. Particularly when we encounter people who exemplify traits that we would like to have, we are spurred to demonstrate such traits ourselves. That’s one of many reasons the New Testament says so much about “one another.” The devil doesn’t want us to be encouraged, so he does all he can to keep us apart. The recent pandemic was very much part of his schemes, not just for the actual deaths but particularly as a tool to keep people apart from each other. We need to take this as a lesson not to let fear keep us apart. The elderly were particularly vulnerable, but they have a higher probability of dying in the first place, and the numbers of people who were forced to die alone is tragic indeed. Of course, the devil attacked churches, and some governments forbade churches to meet while they allowed liquor stores, and even big discount stores, to stay open. The biggest shock in that was the number of Christians who went along with it! Paul said, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) but the best statement on the subject is found in Hebrews: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25) We need to be with people who put their hope in Christ!

We have had visitors from overseas recently, both expected and unexpected, and it has struck me how they have delighted in and been encouraged by getting to know Cathy and me. Seeing God’s grace to us, they have realized that same grace is available to them. When we are this blessed at this age, they realize they can be too! The Japanese for this verse is an expectation: “Those who fear You will rejoice to see me.” The people who have stayed with us recently have reacted like that! This is not to be a point of personal pride for us, but rather an awareness of God’s plan that involves all of us fitting together in various ways, together defeating the enemy in ways we could not do alone.

Father, thank You for this reminder, and for our recent interactions. Thank You also for the meeting I could attend yesterday, seeing people I don’t get with very often, including a brother who hasn’t been here in four years because of the pandemic. Left to myself I often prefer to be left to myself. Help me recognize that as weakness, and be the part of the Body of Christ that You want me to be, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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