The Bare Soul - September 30, 2007
Be Encouraged!

Occasionally, I get discouraged just as we all experience doubts about ourselves. My most recent discouragement was around whether I was truly doing the will of the Lord with my barefoot running, barefoot writing, and my barefoot running ministry to youth groups, running clubs, etc. I guess we all sometimes question whether we are truly doing what God want of us. About three weeks ago, I was experiencing some doubt around some of these questions. While barefoot running is fun to me, it has become so much more as I continue to turn it over to the Lord.

While meditating on these questions and the possible answers, I was running down Langsford Road here in Lee's Summit Missouri (where I live) and I had about a quarter of a mile until my turn off. I was feeling very confused in my heart and prayed, "Lord, if this is REALLY the work and calling you have placed on my life, then confirm it by someone in a passing car honking in encouragement before I get to my turnoff." Now, I occasionally get honks, but not very often. It's usually folks that know me. I can run for several days and not get a "honk" from a passing car. I continued on my way, believing that "yes", I WAS doing God's will because I felt the inner witness that it was so. However, sometimes a loving reassurance from my Heavenly Father was an added gift. Still believing, I arrived at the intersection and a white Grand Am laid on its horn for several seconds while passing. I saw an arm extended in a wave from the driver as I cleared the intersection. Thank you Lord Jesus for the confirmation!

Now, to some I realize this sounds like a silly coincidence and to equate it to a sign from God is presumptive and ludicrous. However, to those of us who are being saved, these are wonderful signs of God's love when they happen in our respective lives. However, what about the times when we can't hear or see God's encouragement or confirmation that we are doing the "next RIGHT thing" according to His will? In I Samuel 30:6, David found himself in a dire situation where his people were considering stoning him because, in their thinking, he had let them down. The King James Version put it the best in my opinion as it states:

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

David knew that God had ordained him to be king of Israel and that this was simply a test that he must persevere. David did not wait for anyone else's "honk", if you will, but he encouraged himself in the Lord, gathered up his warriors and went and overcame those who had beset him and his people. The secret to his success was KNOWING that God was with him and then drawing on that strength to go do what he knew needed done. As for our lives, we can use those "honks" of encouragement, such as when Samuel anointed David to be king. (His anointing occurred year's before he actually became king of Israel.) As David, we can all draw on the memories of the Lord's calling, when the times get tough, and God is calling on us to "encourage ourselves in the Lord".

During the past week, a situation developed where I was misunderstood and misrepresented by various individuals. My first impulse was to respond to defend myself to set the record straight. This, however, was not what the Lord desired. He spoke to my heart and said "Blessed are you when men heap insults upon you and speak all sorts of evil against you: Be glad and rejoice and leap for joy, for great is your reward in heaven". I immediately experienced an overwhelming sense of His peace when He spoke to me -- the blessed assurance that I was certaainly in His loving care. Once again, the Lord gave me the encouragement that I needed from His spoken Word to continue to do His will.

God's encouragement is sometimes an event that happens, such as what I experienced with the passing motorist. Sometimes, it comes as the Living Word that breathes life into my being. These "events" can be drawn upon in future times when clouds of doubt once again form. As with David, we can all take past assurances that God has given us about our lives or our callings and use these to strengthen and encourage ourselves in the Lord during those times of doubt. The Lord Jesus will always give us the tools we need to build the house he has called us to build, with the right encouragement along the way.

Your Humble Barefoot Servant!

Barefoot Rick

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