Sometimes, out of the blue, God gives us encouragement.
One week, got an inbox full of endorsements based on this email from the Medical Director where I serve as a Hospice Chaplain:
"I want to take this opportunity to give thanks for the wonderful man in all our lives. Pastor Joel we are so blessed to have had you join our team, your support both emotional and spiritual means the world to all of us.
Your care for our patients is above and beyond what we are used to from pastoral services, our gratitude to you is never ending.
This week being Pastoral Care Week, we want you to know how loved, and appreciated you are. Thank you Pastor Joel for all that you do. On and Off the job."
Then, that same week, "out of the blue," I received the following note from someone who had read a book I wrote more than 10 years before:
Subject: Thank you for "The Crucified Church"
Message: Hello Pastor Rissinger, my name is Glenn and I recently read your book The Crucified Church. I serve as pastor at a Baptist Church as a tentmaker. I have been there 15 years and am trying to help our small church start to think about what's next. Your book was very helpful in that it capsulized a lot of things I have already been thinking about the future of our little church. If it would ever work out, I would love to buy you lunch someday and ask for your feedback concerning the directions I am trying to shepherd our church toward. And if that wouldn't work with your schedule, thanks again for the encouragement from your book. Sincerely, Glenn"
Then, because it was pastor appreciation month, our church gave us a huge gift basket and a bag of cards and notes thanking us for all we do.
I was so blessed!
As we were in the midst of these blessings, I remembered that it was the 20th anniversary of our leaving a very troubled church situation. When I shared it with my wife, her eyes filled with tears. "He's blessing us," she said, "He's saying He sees and that he appreciates our efforts."
That's when I choked-up.
You see, God blesses. That's who He is...and that's what He does. It may not be right away. It may not happen the way we "expect it" to happen. In fact, we may not even SEE or RECOGNIZE it at first...
Still, God blesses.
So, if you need a boost and things have been hard lately, ask God for encouragement. Don't hesitate. Ask and believe that God's nature is to give you what you need to keep going. If others reject you or just fail to see you in a positive light, God will bless. We should live as if we expect Him to be consistently "in our corner" when we serve and sacrifice for Him.
To that end,