Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Opinion

October 9, 2013

Encouragement

Corsicana — The length of every football field is 100 yards. Every pitcher’s rubber is 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate. The bases are 90 feet apart. Every basketball hoop is 10 feet high and every free throw line is 15 feet from the backboard. But when the game is played, one thing is different. One athlete is playing before the home crowd and the other isn’t. The cheers of encouragement that fill the stadiums for the home team make a difference. We have all seen it, the power of encouragement. It is what sports calls the “home field advantage.”  

We also know the ravages of discouragement. Discouragement can paralyze and make it impossible to act. It can steal our confidence and throw us into a deadly downward spiral. We see it in athletes on the golf course, tennis court and in the faces of the losing team in the waning moments of the game. Some remarkable people have the ability to resist discouragement and retain their focus. The great athletes learn to fight through discouragement. But all of us are vulnerable to the voices of discouragement from within and from without.  

The Adversary whispers into our ear words of discouragement and doubt. But God’s voice is always the voice of encouragement. God is our constant encourager. He believes in us. He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5). When a broken hearted father received the devastating news that his daughter was dead, Jesus said, “Stop fearing, only believe!” He then proceeded to the man’s home and, in the privacy of their bedroom, gently raised his daughter to life. (Mark 5:36).   

Heather Herschap was born with cerebral palsy. She is confined to a wheel chair with limited use of one arm. I first met her nine years ago after she had completed a college degree in psychology and was working on a Masters in Divinity.  

She says the turning point in her life came when she arrived on campus as a freshman and was alone in the dorm for the first time. Her body became hopelessly stuck between the bed and the wall, and, with her paralysis, she could not work herself free. After hours of crying out for help to no avail she heard a voice, clear and audible, “Don’t give up.” That experience led her to faith in Christ.

A few year later, aware that her prayers were focused on her own problems, she began to pray for others and God whispered in her ear, “India.” If you meet Heather you will know that India is her passion. Her eyes sparkle, her face lights up and her body stiffens in excitement when she speaks of India. She has been to India three times counseling outcasts like herself who are handicapped, encouraging them and giving them hope.

Every day we need encouragement. And every day we encounter people who need to be encouraged: the clerk in the Walmart checkout line, the waitress working two jobs to feed her kids, the aging aunt confined by her infirmity to a nursing home. Perhaps the most spiritual thing you can do today is to encourage someone. It might be the most important thing you ever do.

—————

Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. Visit www.tinsleycenter.com. He may be reached by email at bill@tinsleycenter.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Janet Jacobs Technology versus common sense

    The gadgets of the future will include an internet-assisted backyard grill, according to news accounts this past week.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Belcher, Bob.jpg Salute to 'Mr. Derrick Days'

    I can’t help but think back to the “near-death experience” that Derrick Days had 14 years ago, and how one man’s determination brought it back.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Tinsley Resurrection

    I was 29-years-old when my father died of multiple myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow.  He was 53 years of age. Only hours before his death, I spoke with him. Our eyes met during that final visit, the same eye contact we had shared from my birth.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dr Don Newbury 2014.jpg It’s about time

    Some aspect of time steals quietly into our psyche in all conscious moments, and our use or abuse of it is central to much poetry, lyrics, scripts, conversations — you name it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick Platt 2014.jpg The Wonderlic Test

    Did you hear the one about Texas A&M’s “Johnny Football” Manziel testing better than all the other quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Scouting Combine? No, this is not the start of an Aggie joke.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • deannakirk.jpg Work Out? Bite your tongue!

    I've shared this before, but it bears repeating. I'm a lot like my late, dear Daddy … whose idea of “working out” was a good, brisk sit.
    Amen, Daddy. Me too.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Letters to the Editor for Saturday, April 12, 2014

    Thanks for service
    To the Editor: The Blooming Grove Elementary School would like to express appreciation to several individuals and businesses that for three years have provided a “free” vision exam and eyeglasses for many of our students.

    April 11, 2014

  • Dr Don Newbury 2014.jpg Uncle Mort: For the Birds

    Personal experiences racked up across three-quarters of a century — including yips and yaps at lecterns spanning five decades — offer positive proof that many times, utter silence is preferable to spoken words.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick Platt 2014.jpg One-liners

    For many years, in a previous life, I had somewhat of a reputation as a master-of-ceremonies and I stayed relatively busy at that avocation. I never met a microphone I didn’t like

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deanna Kirk mug Gotta love a small town

    There's so many things to love about living in a small town. Why just last week I got to hang out with my ex-husband, his folks, his wife and baby at the Youth Expo. Then just a day later, I got to see my other ex-husband and his wife at the hospital, when one of our daughters got sick and landed there.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo