Read Hebrews 10:24-25
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NIV)
It is sad that some Christians don’t find their church gatherings encouraging. One reason may be that the gatherings are so tightly controlled and scheduled that we don’t get a chance to share with one another what God is doing in our life. Testimonies can be very encouraging.
But here we might strike a problem. One person shares with the church how their wayward son has been wonderfully converted. That may be either very encouraging for someone who also has a wayward son: there is still hope. Then again, it can be discouraging because they can share no such good news. One person testifies to God’s wonderful healing from cancer whilst another person sits and listens well aware that no healing has come their way. It can lift their hopes or cause them to wonder why they have missed out.
There is no easy answer to this. We dare not stop people sharing good news just because others have not received such news. Those in the dark valleys cannot be allowed to silence those on the mountain tops. Perhaps we can urge those who share wonderful answers to prayer that they acknowledge the mystery in all this: that not all get the answers they desire. Perhaps we can also urge those who are struggling to recognise that God is still alive and well and that struggle is not the only feature of the Christian landscape.
Encouraging one another can never become mere triumphalism or boasting. It is an acknowledgment that God is good which sits alongside a realisation that sometimes we don’t always taste that goodness.