“But now when Timotheus (Timothy) came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity (love), and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.”1 Thessalonians 3:6-8
One of my favorite roles I got to play at my current employer was to coach incoming new hires. These coaches train the new employees and are there as guides for them as they learn the ins and outs of their new job. I jumped at the chance to apply for this role, and I was grateful to be selected as one of the three coaches. The class of new employees usually contains 16 people or so, and there are many different personalities and challenges they bring. The class I coached included some who were bright and motivated, and others who just seemed to be along for the ride. I was walking by someone’s desk one day when I noticed a Bible sitting atop a desk and in prominent view. I stopped and made a comment about the Bible, m and the guy’s face lit up with joy like a bright light that could not be ignored.
We got to know each other a little bit, and he was a real joy to be around. He loved the Lord and loved talking about Him. I would make sure to stop by his desk every day just so I could be encouraged with what God was doing in His life. His wife was pregnant with twins, and he was as excited as a new dad could be. We were in training one day when he received an urgent call, and he had to leave for the day. He did not return the following day, and we soon learned that his wife went into early labor and the twins were born premature. The twins were not well enough to leave the hospital, and this was only the start of a long road for my friend. He missed a lot of work those following weeks, and I cannot imagine how heavy the twins weighed on his mind. Still, through the heartache, pain, and sorrow, I saw the joy of the Lord on his face.
God took one of his twin girls to Heaven, and it brought me to pray more for him and his family. I could not imagine what he was going through, but I still could see God all over his face and there was still joy amidst the sorrow. As the years have gone by, things have not gotten easier for my dear brother. He has faced many hurdles, trials and constant attacks from the devil. My heart aches for him as I learn of the trials God has allowed him to go through, but I still see the joy of the Lord on his face. I feel like calling him “Job” at times due to the trials He has endured. I recently saw him, and I was so encouraged to see his face. He had sorrow and heartache, but his heart sang the praises of God. He brought good news of what God was doing in his life and how God was teaching him and growing him. I felt like a scumbag for complaining of my little inconveniences as my brother had gone through the fire.
I have never met someone in my life quite like my friend. He is strong, but yet is meek, loving and kind. He is someone who loves the Word of God and someone who praises God in all things. I Thessalonians 5:18 states, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” My friend lives this verse and I am always encouraged when I see him. He brings the good news of God and he has the gift of encouragement. I cannot wait to see my brother again, and I know no matter what he is going through, he will be praising God for His goodness. It does not mean that he is not hurting, but it does means that he has full dependence on God and what He is doing in his life.
Acts 16:25 states, “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Paul and Silas were not without physical and spiritual hardships, but they had the joy of the Lord. Do you bring good news or are you one that cannot wait to share bad news? Are others encouraged to be around you or are you known as a “Debbie Downer”? Who can you encourage today? Who needs to see the joy of the Lord in your life? What lost person is observing you and not drawn to Christ because you are not much different than them? May we bring the good news of the gospel to a world who desperately needs it, and may others see the joy of the Lord on our face. To God be the glory!