So why would I need encouragement? Why would I think that what I am doing is unimportant? Well don’t you ever get depressed? Don’t you ever get down on yourself? I’m 61. There are days that I don’t feel it, and there are days that every day of those 61 years weighs a ton. My feet ache, I’m overloaded with work, no one has said a kind word to me in weeks, my father-in-law passed away recently after suffering dreadfully and my wife is often away on ministry in Cambodia.

But this is where being a Christian comes in. No, not because it gives me great reserves of spiritual wisdom to face any trial. Rather it is because we serve a God who is personal, who is intimately connected with our lives, who listens to our prayers, even the ones we don’t have the courage or presence of mind to pray. He is the One who helps me, sometimes in very personal ways.

Shortly before the three week summer break I was considering not going to the yearly Prom. Pam had been back in Canada for several weeks nursing her father, and I just didn’t feel much like celebrating. I was musing this over when I went down to the pool and was greeted by some colleagues who urged me to attend. I went, reluctantly, but had half a mind to leave after dinner. In fact I was sitting in a chair in the lobby when a young man came up and said “You’re Mr. Wise, aren’t you?” I have never taught this lad or even seen him about, so I was surprised when he said that he was not in the CPU program, but had heard about me from mutual friends. “Your wife is a missionary to Cambodia, I hear.”

Now he really had my attention. I asked him how he knew that and he said that he was a frequent visitor on our website, whose address I make known to every student I teach. Word of mouth does the rest. He was a young Christian, just three years in the faith, from a nominally Buddhist family. He attended DUMC where we worship, although in such a large church it is not surprising that I had never seen him there. He wanted to know about short term mission work, and I encouraged him to get involved. It was that encouragement that he was seeking and that prompted his talking to me.

But it was his encouragement to me that was the more meaningful. I hadn’t realized the impact that I was having through this blog on students I had never met; nor the reputation that I was gathering in the school. Surely my ministry is larger than I knew and more important than I realized. This personal God that cares for us as a loving father would saw my distress and sought to comfort and encourage me by reminding me of this larger ministry by bringing this young man over to introduce himself and ask me for guidance.

I praise and thank the Lord that meets our needs in such an immediate and personal way, and I encourage you, where you are, to look to Him for such leading in your life. He doesn’t come barging in demanding our attention, uprooting our lives and ordering us about. But if you pay attention to the small details of your life, if you look for Him to answer your prayers and meet your needs – whatever they are – you will find Him, for that is His promise in His word:

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans not for evil, but for good; to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all of your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)