By Ted Heaston
After President Nixon was removed from the Presidency, he was so disgraced and emotionally disturbed that he wanted to take his own life. He and his wife were in the hospital room with the curtains closed. A nurse came in and asked permission to open up the curtains. When the curtains were opened, Nixon saw an airplane flying back and forth outside his window with a banner that read “God loves you, Mr. Nixon.”
When Nixon saw that word of encouragement, he regained hope. Who was the encourager behind this? Ruth Graham, Billy Graham’s wife, had given orders to the pilot to keep flying that sign until Nixon opened the curtains.
A biblical encourager reminds and affirms the discouraged and troubled people in life that God accepts them and can use them. There are many people who have the curtains closed in their lives. They need an encourager to wave the banner that says ‘God loves you!’ to bring hope to them.
In I Thess. 5:11, Paul exhorts us, “THEREFORE ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER AND BUILD ONE ANOTHER UP, JUST AS YOU ARE DOING.”
Recently my mission and assignment took me to the Asia Pacific islands of Guam and Palau. That caused me to remember that there is something amazing about a warm ocean breeze blowing across your face. There is something amazing about watching the wind fill a giant piece of canvas that tilts a large sail in a way that both powers and directs the vessel. I think that is even more incredible than feeling the effects of the breeze on your face.
Before the age of motorized boats, sailors relied on trade winds to carry them across the ocean. But there was one area that was to be avoided at all costs by these sailors. All mariners knew about it. It was called the ‘Doldrums’.
You are probably familiar with the term ‘Doldrums’. To most people it is a word that indicates “a dull or lifeless place in life.” The very word doldrums is taken from the root word meaning “dull” or “lifeless,” so we have come to use the expression “in the doldrums” to describe the state of being bored and restless, in a slump.
But the doldrums is what sailors called a specific region along the equator where the weather always seemed to illustrate a lifeless condition. An air mass could hover overhead, and nothing would move, which kept their sailing ships stuck in place.
It is my sincere prayer that God would develop my life and my ministry like a needed trade wind — ready to blow across the lives of people who have found themselves in a place like the doldrums.
There is no power like the wind of the Holy Spirit to energize and direct our vessel across the sea of life, and I want that power operating in my life and ministry.
In fact, I feel God has made it my calling at this time in my life to be an encourager – and that has become a major part of my reason for being.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in the midst of their worry and depression over persecution and the coming of the Lord. “And he prayed for them: MAY OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF AND GOD OUR FATHER, WHO LOVED US AND BY HIS GRACE GAVE US ETERNAL ENCOURAGEMENT AND GOOD HOPE, ENCOURAGE YOUR HEARTS AND STRENGTHEN YOU IN EVERY GOOD DEED AND WORD.” (2 Thess. 2:16).
The Doldrums were once more feared than the Bermuda Triangle. Ships became trapped in this dead zone, which forced them to endure grueling storms until they wrecked.
Maybe you’re in that place right now. Maybe you know someone who is going through a storm and is doing all they can just to stay afloat. Maybe it’s been a long time since you’ve been passionate about anything. Maybe you’re in a rut and you don’t know how to move forward. I pray God will send someone to bring encouragement to you, and that He will send the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow across your situation to bring you up and out of the doldrums.
Ted Heaston is an International AGWM Missionary with the Assemblies of God, and serves as the Global Operations National Office Relations Director for Global University. To learn more about Global University, visit www.globaluniversity.edu.