When leaving to walk our dog, Joy, one afternoon, I opened the front door and discovered a small bag sitting beside our porch gate. Inside the bag were two small lamb shaped chocolates and a book about Psalm 23 written from the perspective of a shepherd. Psalm 23 is a powerful Psalm which I have reflected upon much in the last several months.
The bag came from a friend who knows my journey, engages in frequent conversations with me and lives with attentiveness to the Holy Spirit. She felt moved to encourage and inject my soul with love, life, and laughter.
Injection – To introduce into something. To insert or feed. To drive or force a liquid into a person’s body with a syringe.
This last week I received another kind of injection. To aid my body toward physical recovery and healing in the wake of my car accident, I received trigger point injections. These injections inserted a special mixture of anesthetics and steroids into my body to offer pain relief and relaxation to the muscles. Several little injections created a highway of healing down my neck and back.
I pondered these two injections. One ministered to my spirit and the other to body. Both fed my soul with helpful elements to live life to the full.
There are many injections throughout the Bible. This year, with the same group of friends, I am reading the Bible chronologically. It continues to be an enriching practice with the slight augmentation from last year’s Genesis-Revelation reading of Scripture.
This past week, I read the story of Jonathan and David in 1 Samuel 20-23. They enjoyed a unique friendship. The purity and passion with which they served one another refreshes and inspires me. Both inject commitment, perspective, and support into each other.
David fled from Saul who sought to kill him and experienced great distress through his journey in the desert. While David rested at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, the Scriptures tell us: “Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” The two of them made a covenant before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained in Horesh” (1 Samuel 23:15-18).
Jonathan arrived to inject David with encouragement, support and truth. First, Jonathan offered the gift of presence. Second, he pointed David to God, the true source of strength. Third, Jonathan recognized David’s difficulty which aroused conflicting emotions. Fourth, he offered a reality check with the truth of the situation. Lastly, Jonathan left David alone to trust God and experience God’s presence and power.
With what have you been injected lately?
Do you numb the experience of today’s current events with injections of endless news reports, binge show watching, or scrolling social media ? Unfortunately, these kinds of injections lead to fear, anxiety, confusion, and pride. On the other hand, what do you insert into your soul to enrich your life? We need to focus on injections meant to offer strength, comfort, and perspective.
Follow Jonathan’s example of healthy Spirit-filled injections.
Extend the gift of presence. Think outside the box. Make connections and experience community through texts, emails, phone calls, FaceTime, and zoom. Be available every day to reach out to someone by extending the love of God. Make a list people to inject with companionship and share yourself – even if it is through technology.
Are you letting God inject you with the truths of His Word? Before you can offer the light and love of Christ, you need to receive it from God by spending time with Him. How is your time with Jesus these days? Is it necessary to establish a new rhythm so you are injected by the God of the universe? When you enjoy this space with the Lord you are poised to offer hope and honesty to others with the strength God provides. Set aside time to be with Jesus each day. Point others to the peace of Christ. Remind family and friends of God’s sovereignty. Spur people on to mature in the Lord.
How honest are you with yourself and others about the impact of today’s pandemic upon your soul? Is it time to stop and reflect on its effects upon you? In what ways are you entrusting those emotions to the care of God? Jonathan didn’t deny David’s troubling circumstances but he injected confidence and comfort. To whom is God inviting you to speak consolation? Remind others in whom they can place their trust.
Along with reminding your community of the true source of hope and trust, just like Jonathan, we can offer truth into today’s situations. Many alternating voices offer distraction and contradicting perspectives, but God offers the most whole and pure view point. He reminds us in Job that He has always been and still remains. Many Psalms point to the steadfast character of God. Reality is found in relationship with the Triune God. What are ways to ground yourself and others in God? Feed yourself and those around you with spiritual injections from the truth of God’s Word.
Just as David remained in the desert when Jonathan left, many today experience a type of aloneness. Jonathan entrusted his dear friend to the care of God. David absorbed the injections of Jonathan and moved deeper with God, trusting Him to guide, protect, and strengthen him in the journey. We cannot always stay with those we love, but God is always present and by His Spirit, He sustains. God injects supernatural strength. What does it look like to release others to the comfort of God? How can you encourage people when there is physical distance between you?
Look for who you can inject today with the life-giving hope and healing of God.
Share from the injections you receive from God. Let His peace, power and presence flow through you into the hearts and souls of this around you.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings to fill your soul.
Larry Crabb. Encouragement: The Unexpected Power of Building Others Up. Grand Rapids, MI. 2013
Shanna Noel. 100 Days of Bible Promises. Siloam Spring, AR, 2019