Let us hold fast the confession of our hope

without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another on to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing nearHeb. 10:23-25

Lord Jesus, having just finished leading a couples retreat with Darlene, here in Wisconsin, this passage is a fitting benediction and charge. But it’s also a vision of how you’re calling all of us to live until the Day you return. We need the certain hope of the Gospel, engaged friendships, and each other’s encouragement.

Because of your finished work, we live by hope, not hype—by faith, not fear; by resting in your love, not worrying about tomorrow. Just like ourselves, our future is held tightly and lovingly in your mighty hands. You are at work in all things for our good, all the time—in our joys and pains, losses and crosses.

This passage also calls us to be regular and robust in bringing encouragement to the people you’ve woven into our hearts and stories. Encouragement is always important, but in our culture of criticism and cynicism, it’s never been more needed. As the great Day of your return approaches, give us eyes of compassion, words of kindness, and hands of servanthood for each other.

Make us conduits of your mercy and grace, Jesus. To whom would you send us today? Put names and faces before us of those needing a call, note, or text; an unrushed visit, some focused listening, or an hour of unfettered laughter. Thank you for being the God of all hope and encouragement. Thank you for your unrelenting commitment to reassure us of your love, grace, and sovereignty. So very Amen we pray, in your loving and faithful name.