The other day, Jonah woke up with a stomach ache. He was supposed to collect food contributions with his Cub Scouts pack. He and his dad had committed to doing this as a contribution to the community. But Jonah woke up ill. He simply could not go. And so, after lying down for a while hoping his stomach would feel better, he decided he was not going to be able to go. His dad agreed and said he should stay home and rest. He could attend the next community service project. Although his dad was sympathetic and did not seem upset, Jonah wondered if he had disappointed him.
Scouts is something that Jonah and Dad do together, just the two of them. Because my husband was a Boy Scout when he was a kid, he and Jonah have this special activity in common. My husband doesn’t do this with any of the other kids, just Jonah. Since this is their “thing” to do together, Jonah was feeling a bit guilty for withdrawing from that morning’s service project. In an attempt to make himself feel better, he asked his sister if she thought Dad was angry with him. He wanted some encouragement. He wanted someone to say it was okay to be sick today and that his dad understood. His sister did just that. She explained that Dad could not be mad at him since it wasn’t his fault he got sick. She consoled him. She assured him. And finally she told him he should just ask Dad if he was disappointed.
This story truly warms my heart. It reminded me of the scripture that says, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today’ lest any of one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13 NASB) My son was feeling a bit disappointing and went to his sister for comfort. He received exactly that. She didn’t condemn him for being sick. She didn’t tell him he was a bad person. She didn’t point out the fact that Dad had gotten up early in order to do this with him. She simply stated the facts. He was ill and could not go. And most importantly, his dad was not disappointed in him because he understood.
We need people in our lives that remind us that we are not failures. The Lord gives us people to encourage us along the way. And we are called to encourage each other as well. It’s so easy to condemn and tear others down. For me, it takes the strength of the Holy Spirit to choose to see the good in people. It is more natural for me to point out faults rather than the good in someone. And so, when I cross paths with a true encourager, I want to spend a lot of time with them. Encouraging people make me feel good. They help me to focus on my God given strengths. And best of all, their positive attitude tends to rub off on me.
I love to write about my kids and what they teach me about the Lord. Believe me, they are far from perfect. But on this particular day, they displayed a picture of what the family of God should look like. One falls down. Another lifts up and reminds him that God loves him no matter what. It’s a simple concept. But I find that I spend too much time either looking at my own flaws or the mistakes of others and not enough time seeking the Lord. Instead, I should just go to my Father and I would be reminded that God loves me even when I have failed to perform. He loves me with my inabilities. He loves me just as I am. He is a God of second and third and fourth chances. He looks beyond our failures to our potential. When our Father in heaven looks at us with all of our mistakes, He is never disappointed because He understands.