Bob was always there to express encouragement. I noticed this trait and practice about him very early in our friendship. If ever there were an award called "The Mr. Encouragement Award," Bob would win it, hands down.
Encouragement was not the only good trait of Bob. He was my brother in the family of God, and was the first person I would call on to help with a problem. It took a while for me to catch on, but Bob's main tactic in dealing with difficulty, was to minimize the problem. If you went to him for help, he would listen as the situation was described, but would end with you knowing things were not as impossible as you imagined. Then when you assessed the problem again, it would not seem to be as big as you thought it was.
Bob would never sugar-coat the truth in his attempt to help. If you had a wrong attitude or assumption toward the problem, he would be quick to call you to accountability for your part in creating the trouble. Even the way he did that was in letting you know it's not the end of the world for a person to fail. Then he would encourage you in ways to deal with the difficulty, all the time building you up with kind words.
I think about Bob often, even though he has been with the Lord for lots of years. The reason I thought of him today was in a phone conversation with someone who had made some wrong decisions and expressed there was no remedy. I thought about throwing in my 2 cents worth of magnifying the blame and letting my friend know he had caused the situation so he should dig himself out it.
Instead, I thought of Bob's Mr. Encouragement Award, and even used a phrase Bob had used in my presence more than once. "I know you are a believer, and I have confidence that you and God, working as a team, can be the winner in this situation." That was Bob's way of telling me and others, "You are a Christian and you have the answer to this and any other dilemma, alive and living inside you. He is the one that says, 'Cast your cares on me, because I care for you.'"
I tell you about Bob and his gentle reprimands for forgetting God is on your side, in order to make you think about that this weekend. We hear of problems and troubles every day. We wonder where God is and why he is letting these bad things happen. Why do good people get cancer? Why did an innocent child die? Why are the rumors targeting me? Why can't I catch my share of the breaks?
Bob's discussion would also lead you to an understanding of another scripture, from the pen of John, " You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4
So this weekend, armed with Bible truth, set out to be an encourager to at least one person every day. It doesn't have to deal with big problems. It works with small tasks, too. Be the first to let someone know they and God can handle any situation. That's an unstoppable team.