Trust Over Fear

In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, NIV)

I trust God, so I am not afraid of what people can do to me! I praise God for His promise to me. – (Psalm 56:4, ERV)

In God – whose word I praise – in God I place my trust. I shall not let fear come in, for what can measly men do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, VOICE)

As we enjoy the blessing of a bonus long weekend, my heart cannot help but give gratitude for the brave men and women who served our country with a trust like this. This weekend, may we remember those who stood firm in the face of fear, knowing that they had a purpose to protect their friends, family and the nation they loved and paid the ultimate price. Though people can take a life on earth, they cannot deter the eternal destination of those who trust in God. Our time here is but the blink of an eye in comparison to forever. May we truly place our trust in God, and not allow fear to overwhelm us. For God has promised to be present and is preparing a place for all who trust in Him. 

May we ever choose trust,

In God, whom we praise;

For He’s always faithful,

Forever; always.

Help us not permit fear,

To stand in our way;

Please grant us Your courage,

To do as You say.

Help us to choose honor,

Those whom have served well;

Paid the ultimate price,

Before their time, fell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You showed us what it is to sacrifice for others. Thank You for the men and women who have sacrificed and paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Forgive us for allowing any to be forgotten, for You love all with a love that laid down Your life in our place. Teach us to trust in You and be not afraid, for You are with us, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that they come to know the faithfulness found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and fend off fear, knowing You are with us always. Help us to remember and honor all who sacrificed so that we might be free. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1

Hope in the Waiting

It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:54-56, NIV)

It was late on Preparation Day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin. The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb. Inside they saw where he put Jesus’ body. Then they left to prepare some sweet-smelling spices to put on the body. On the Sabbath day they rested, as commanded in the Law of Moses. – (Luke 23:54-56, ERV)

It was Preparation Day – the day before the holy Sabbath – and it was about to begin at sundown. The women who had accompanied Jesus from the beginning in Galilee now came, took note of where the tomb was and how His body had been prepared, then left to prepare spices and ointments for His proper burial. They ceased their work on the Sabbath so they could rest as the Hebrew Scriptures required. – (Luke 23:54-56, VOICE)

When I ponder the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I imagine a sense of mourning and anticipation. The women who had been with Jesus from the beginning, had just witnessed the death of their Savior. Rather than running off in their sorrow, they waited and watched to see what they might do next to honor Him. In anticipation, they followed Joseph, the upright man from the Council, who had gone to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body so that he might properly place Jesus in a tomb. When the ladies knew where Jesus was laid, they went home to prepare spices to give the Savior a proper burial. However, as soon as the sun went down it was the Sabbath, and the time of rest and waiting began. It is in that space of rest, that I cannot help but imagine what it all was like. Grief, anticipation, remembering… The women had walked beside Jesus and lived and learned what a sinless life could be, only to see it cut short by the cross. Despite their anguish, they arrived at the conclusion that there was purpose for them to fulfill. Preparation Day was full of preparing for so much more than they could have ever imagined. Today, this day between the crucifixion and the resurrection, we have time to purposefully ponder all that Jesus did for us. Our sin and shame were buried with Him in that tomb, waiting to burst forth with new life, intended for all. May we look to the cross with thanksgiving for all that was placed upon Him, and look ahead with anticipation, to all that tomorrow brings. New life and eternal hope are ours to behold, if only we seek the Savior.

His death on the cross,

And all they had seen;

Lost, seeking purpose,

What did it all mean?

The women in wait,

Watched, followed to see;

Where was their Savior,

What might the Lord need?

Laid in a new tomb,

His location known;

Christ’s body broken,

Somber and alone.

A day to prepare,

To honor the Lord;

They did what they knew,

All time would afford.

Then came the waiting,

Such sorrow unknown;

Grief and a purpose,

Their hope felt postponed.

Soon to discover,

All hope was not lost;

The Savior would rise,

From death on that cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for new life in us. Jesus, thank You that though we lose sight of hope in the waiting, it is simply a time to pause and anticipate the new that is coming. Forgive us for forgetting the power You have. The very One who defeated death is always working on our behalf, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces that seem like we are waiting in darkness. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that hope may rise, even in the darkest tombs in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You endured the cross for our sake, and praise You for the power in You that overcame death to rise again. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

How Love Abounds

My beloved is mine and I am his… – (Song of Songs 2:16a, NIV) 

My love is mine, and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, VOICE) 

Song of Songs captures the blessings beheld in love as God intended. Over the last four years, I have come to understand such love in a very tangible way, especially over the last two years, as today my Viking and I celebrate our second wedding anniversary. Genuine love establishes a bond that requires the dedication and devotion of both partners, so that no matter what comes, it can be faced together. For me, God provided the man that I never knew I needed. He loves fiercely, gently and with a devotion that I have never questioned. We have had to navigate some serious challenges over the last two years, between the loss of his father, my mom’s stroke, and various other familial health concerns. Additionally, we have shared great joys. Our three children have all now graduated from high school and are on their way to navigating adulthood well. One is working full-time, and the other two are preparing for their first year of college in the fall. There have been births, deaths, weddings and milestones that we have celebrated and grieved together. Even in this crazy season of COVID-19, we have found comfort, security and safety in Christ and one another. There is no one that I would rather navigate this life with, and I am so grateful that God blessed me with such love. May we all seek the Lord as our provider of love the way He intended, and give Him praise all of our days, as we discover together, how great His love truly is. 

To fully embrace, 

All that God’s love is; 

We must choose to trust, 

And know we are His. 

As we come to know, 

His kindness and grace; 

Our hearts are opened, 

To God’s loving ways. 

Such blessings are found, 

The more that we know; 

His heart is for us, 

To bless and to grow. 

O what a treasure, 

To have and to hold; 

The one He’s given, 

Such love does unfold. 

Today I give thanks, 

For the love I’ve found; 

As I’m fiercely loved, 

And goodness abounds. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for first loving us and for designing us to love and be loved. Thank You for the incredible blessing of a husband that loves me completely, despite all of my flaws and shortcomings. Forgive me for the times that I have failed to love as You intended. Show me how to love completely, each and every day that I draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your love is made known through willing hearts. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as You created us to love. Amen. 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Ephesians 4:16

Overcome Evil with Good

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:21, NIV)

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, ERV)

Never let evil get the best of you; instead, overpower evil with the good. – (Romans 12:21, VOICE)

 

As social media has been flooded with the atrocity of the killing of an innocent man, out for a run, who was senselessly chased down and murdered by two self-professed vigilantes, who had no authority to question his motives for being out on a run, much less gun him down in cold blood. What is even more evil in all of this, is that nothing seemed to be done to bring justice to Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers until there was public outcry, due to the clear evidence produced in a release of video footage of the barbarity. For many of us, we feel overcome with horror at the wickedness that has played out through such a heinous act against humanity. That being said, the good that is rising up to bring justice to Ahmaud’s case, is overpowering the evil that transpired. No, there is nothing that will ever bring Ahmaud back to life, nor is there any justice that seems valid when a life is so senselessly taken; however, the good is raising awareness and aiding in a change of mindset for ordinary things that so many have taken for granted, and Ahmaud’s murderers are finally being charged. As a fellow runner, my heart aches for the fear that already exists in those who worry about a similar encounter, and for anyone who chooses not to go at all, due to the evil that is present and waiting to pounce. Awareness, education, wisdom and support are ways to combat and overpower the evil with good. I don’t have the answers, but I will continue to listen to the voices of those who have encountered and live with a constant heightened awareness of evil, simply because of the color of their skin, so that I can do what I can to be better and contribute to good overcoming such wickedness. May we seek the Lord to direct our steps to bring about a safe, peaceful, loving existence among all people, just as He intended.

 

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Of a man, so young;

Out to maintain health,

With joy, he would run.

Evil encounter,

Malicious intent;

A life no longer,

Such darkness present.

The saying, it goes,

“Your sins find you out;”

The truth bringing good,

Airing evil out.

May justice be brought,

Where evil once stood;

May all do better,

And seek to do good.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that good overcomes evil, even when the evil that takes place seems insanely overwhelming. Please be with the family of Ahmaud Arbery; though there is nothing that will ever make this senselessness right, let justice be served to those who murdered this young man. Thank You that Your intention is for there to be peace among Your people. Forgive us for the things we have said, done, or left unsaid or undone, that have prevented the good that You intended. Teach us to do and be better. Bring healing to our land, O God. Show us how to love one another, as sisters and brothers, in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength so that we may ever overcome evil with good. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Grace Enough

Have you ever had one of those days, a day where things are crazy busy and the day is long, and then the moment you can finally take pause and breathe, “Wham,” grief sneaks up and sucker punches you in the gut, and you can hardly catch your breath? That was me this afternoon, merely moments ago. I started this morning as usual, studying a totally different and unrelated passage in 2 Chronicles, and had to stop halfway through to go meet up for a safely socially distant run/walk. When I returned home, I had to set it aside and get started immediately on my work day; leaving little time for anything other than potty breaks for the puppy and a quick lunch bite in between meetings and emails. Everything went well, and my day was extended a bit longer than usual, due to a meeting for one of my students. Just as I had finished, my husband returned home from work, and I was ready to get back to the writing that sat undone from this morning. Somehow, as I opened my Outlook account, one particular email took me aback, and I suddenly found myself swallowed by grief. Maybe it is the timing, or perhaps the weight of the past year, but whatever it is, there was a moment of feeling sunk. Then, as nearly as the grief overwhelmed, the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9, flooded my mind, and I was anchored in truth once more.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

In that moment, I needed reminding that His grace is enough. He is enough. Grief is okay to feel, but He will not allow it to sink my soul. I don’t know that I am eagerly boasting about the flash onset of grief, or weakness, or whatever one might want to call it, but I am so grateful that Christ is with me, and He reminds me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. He comforts me in my sorrow and rejoices when I am glad. Regardless of what life brings, God is always good. May we ever seek Him in our sorrow and our joy, for He grants us grace and strength and power to persevere in all things, through every season.

 

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In waves, crashes in;

How do we anchor,

Where do we begin?

As we seek the Lord,

He hears our heart cry;

Reminds us of truth,

Grace He won’t deny.

For great is His love,

That ever comes close;

Strength in our weakness,

His love clearly shows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that comforts us in our grief and loves us through all things. Thank You that You are always near. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You in all things. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to extend Your grace to everyone we meet, so that they may know the power of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your grace that is always enough. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. – 1 Corinthians 16:23

Faith Like Job

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

 

The unwavering faith of Job amazes me every time I am brought back to any portion of his story. Job lost his family, his friends, his wealth and his health, yet his faith remained unflappable. In the midst of all of his loss, his friends tell him all of the possible reasons why such devastation had befallen him, yet Job knew he had been faithful to God and clung to his faith in the truth that was securely planted within him. Incredibly, Job’s story does not end in his space of desolation, but rather in one of restoration, redemption and abundant blessing. God still works in the same powerful ways. When my marriage ended several years ago, I grieved the loss and did not think it would be possible to allow my heart to love again. I trusted God with me and my sons, and it was good. Little did I know, but God had so much more for me; for us. God brought me a partner and help mate, someone to be strong when I am not, yet one whom I can challenge to grow too. His timing could not have been better, as we have weathered some intense storms together. Separately, they may have sunk us, but together, with Christ as our anchor, we have remained steady and secure. There will always be trials in this broken world, but when we know and trust God, we have assurance that the difficult will not last forever. We know that our forever will be far better than anything we could begin to hope or imagine in the here and now, and with all this time at home, I’ll bet many of us can imagine some fairly fantastic settings and spaces. May we pursue the Lord and trust in Him, so that He may grow more deeply in us, an unwavering faith.

 

My Redeemer lives,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I have certainty;

For in my own life,

He’s loved faithfully.

Not just in theory,

Or stories of old;

Through my own trials,

My hand He did hold.

Granted provision,

For every need;

At the darkest times,

His love took the lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when it feels as if the world is against us. Thank You that our ultimate hope is eternity with You. Forgive us for forgetting the strength, hope and power that is present in You. Teach us to trust and rely on “God with us”, for You are always near. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we might encourage and strengthen them in hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful presence and hold fast to the hope we know is found in You forever. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Remember the Wonders

Well, apparently today is not meant to look like any other day. I rose at the usual time. Spent time in the word. Prayed, pondered, and then wrote out my reflections on the passage and how it applied to my life. Rather than finish the process of editing, copying, pasting and editing again, prior to publishing, I simply saved my Word Document and determined to finish the process after my early morning exercise session. Sadly, when I returned, I opened my document, copied to paste, then shifted applications to continue, I discovered, much to my dismay, what pasted was a bunch of coded garbled gunk, that in no way resembled what I had written. I deleted that, went back to my Word Document, and umm… it was blank. Everything I attempted was fruitless. After fifteen plus minutes of doing all that I knew to do, I gave up. My writing was gone.

There is always a lesson in the lesson, so here I sit, open to discover why. The gist of what I wrote about was my reflection on the following verse:

He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. – (Psalm 111:4, NIV)

Today, exactly one year ago, my sister and I received the news that rocked our world in a way that we had never anticipated. Our strong, healthy, independent mom, had suffered a massive stroke. What made matters worse, is that we had not been able to reach her for a few days. The news that was a dread to us, was simultaneously the most welcome sight in the world to our mom. What I mean is, mom lived alone and was alone. She suffered the stroke and was left isolated and half-paralyzed, as she drifted in and out of consciousness for a couple of days, with her voice too weak to be audible beyond a few feet away. Our well-check request of the local police, resulted in her receiving medical attention hours sooner than if we had waited to drive there to find out for ourselves.

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This photo is from the last time all of us were able to get together. Mom is even stronger now than she was then!

So, where I am I going with the connection to wonders and grace and compassion? Honestly, in spite of everything, God was incredibly faithful and kind, as He provided the right people, places, resources, and time to allow the best possible road for mom’s recovery to be set in place. His grace and compassion have been made new every morning, and I remain in a space of awe at the determination and resilience that He has supernaturally given our mom. She went from barely speaking above a whisper, while struggling to find words, to now speaking and carrying on conversations in a normal voice. Additionally, when she was first in the hospital, we were excited about small muscle twitches in her right side, particularly in her right leg. Now, a year later, she is walking independently with a cane, and continues to work on rebuilding her strength and stamina to increase her speed and the steadiness of her gait. Every step of the journey, God was gracious and compassionate. We have grown even closer as an extended family, and will be having some serious gatherings when these restrictions are finally lifted. In the meantime, there are many phone calls made and photos shared, as we continue to work together to move forward on this healing journey. May we each take time to remember in wonder the incredible ways that God has been gracious and compassionate to us, even in our most trying of times.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that through every season in our lives we have reason to look back in awe and wonder, for You have always been gracious and compassionate to us. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations, and our “if onlys”, for You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You are not finished yet! Teach us to trust You more, so that we can go forth and love those around us with the same compassion and grace that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You in wonder for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Prioritizing Peace and People

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

On one hand, if I observe what is going on in our neighborhood, our schools, our community, our church, our city and beyond, I see much effort being set forth to encourage and strengthen one another. Cheerful greetings to neighbors when out for fresh air, kind words of encouragement for essential workers around town, breakfast and lunch provision for all students in our area, groceries provided by local churches and businesses to families in need, and an outpouring of support for the medical and emergency services community – these all are beautiful efforts to get along and help one another. However, if I turn on the news, I am bombarded with stories seemingly intent on division. Yes, it is important to remain informed, but perhaps small doses are best to avoid being zapped of our resolve to remain invested in doing good. No act of kindness is ever wasted. Though we may not see the results, we never know the impact a generous gesture, kind word, or simply a smile can have on a person. As so many of us are in positions of having to learn an entirely new way of doing our jobs, there are others that are grieving the loss of theirs, and still others who are essential and continue reporting to work as usual, though nothing is usual, all while kids attempt to do remote learning, parents attempt to monitor, help and teach, and everyone needs kindness and encouragement in the process. If we can get along and be at peace in the process, each will be able to successfully navigate their own new. Support and encouragement are beneficial to all, so perhaps we can each be extra generous with kindness in this season. May we make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification, so all may rise better than when we began.

 

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Encourage, lift up;

A blessing of peace,

Fills everyone’s cup.

No act of kindness,

Is ever for naught;

For love and goodness,

Sometimes need be taught.

Taught through our actions,

Not just spoken words;

It requires motion,

For love is a verb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the ultimate provider of peace and encouragement in our lives. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to find peace in our relationships and how to best encourage and lift up those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the things that lead to or maintain peace, or have stayed silent when we were meant to encourage. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pursue peace through You, and ever look for opportunities to encourage and strengthen those around us. Show us how to love others best, so that they may know Your perfect peace through encouragement and edification. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to get along with others and to encourage and lift each other up. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

How Long?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? – (Psalm 13:2a, NIV)

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:28, NIV)

How much longer must I cling to this constant grief? I’ve endured this shaking of my soul. – (Psalm 13:2a, TPT)

My life’s strength melts away with grief and sadness; come and strengthen me and encourage me with Your words. – (Psalm 119:28, TPT)

 

I have set aside personal reflection for public view on the shift in schooling for quite some time, due largely in part to weight of my own sorrow. You see, not only is this the loss of concluding this school year with my students, but it is my own children’s senior year, and the second spring in a row that I have been absent from both. Last year, two weeks from now, our entire world came to a crashing halt. My mom suffered a massive stroke, and we were unsure of what the outcome would be. Immediately, my husband and I made the drive over the mountains to be with her, and I made arrangements to take a leave of absence to remain with mom, as Mark returned home to be with our kids. Mom is a fighter, and did remarkably well as my sister and I were able be with her around the clock, and after all of my years of teaching, I had plenty of leave to stay on through the majority of the remaining school year. Because mom was thriving and making gains, I did not give myself room to grieve. Now, nearly a year later, I am in an entirely different circumstance, yet in a similar space of loss. There have been moments of sorrow and grief, but I have given little time or space to ponder or process. Then, yesterday, as I returned to school for my designated twenty minutes to pick up any supplies I might need from my classroom, the weight of reality began to set in. Silent hallways and classrooms without kids running around, laughing, or talking to one another, left a hollow void in my heart.

My friend and colleague has a remarkable way with capturing in words, moments, so eloquently, and when I read what she posted on Facebook as a reflection of her twenty minutes in her classroom, I found myself fighting back the sting of tears. It took deep, intentional breaths to not fully succumb to the depth of sorrow I was feeling as I read what she had written. My own boys had been in her very first sixth grade class, and she recognized and grieved for those seniors too. There is just so much…

The beauty in the brokenness is that we are not stuck in it. God is faithful to pick us up, dust us off, and grant us fresh resolve. He does strengthen us, and today, my goal and focus is to be prepared for our launch of distance learning, come Monday morning. Additionally, today is my day to email a check-in to my art students, so that holds some hope and joy as well. In all things, God has a way of bringing beauty from ashes. I look forward to seeing how all of this season changes our neighborhood, schools, city, state, and nation for the better.

 

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That mirror my heart;

Loss of what should be,

This season apart.

Such sorrow in loss,

Of all that could be;

Lord help us rise up,

As Your hope sets free.

Even in losses,

You can bring gains;

Beauty from ashes,

For Your love remains.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold us as we wrestle through our sorrow and heaviness, and You strengthen us with resolve once again. Thank You that You truly do bring beauty from ashes, and hope from despair. Forgive us for allow ourselves to sit in our sorrow too long, or for ignoring it and allowing the weight to burden us. Teach us to place all in Your hands, so that You can walk us through it into the good that You have in store for us. Show us how to love those around us well, even though we cannot see people the way we want to right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, and know the comfort and peace that You alone offer. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort and strength in our sorrow, and anticipate the good that lies ahead. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

“…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.” – Isaiah 61:3

Hope Rises

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see where He lay.” – (Matthew 28:1-6, NIV)

After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move. The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as He said. Come and look at the place where He was placed.” – (Matthew 28:1-6, MSG)

 

The more I dig into the scriptures to unpack the details of Holy Week, the more I notice things that either have escaped me previously, or that I had somehow forgotten over time. This morning, after reading about Jesus’ resurrection in all four gospels, I had a moment of “Wow, how did I miss that before?”  In Mark, Luke, and John’s telling of the resurrection, the accounts each begin AFTER the stone had been rolled away. So, what does this matter, you ask? For me, this added to the already miraculous resurrection, as Jesus had risen and left the tomb BEFORE the stone was rolled away. In the same way that He “appeared” in the locked room where the disciples were meeting after all of this had taken place, Jesus had “disappeared” from the tomb, only to “appear” before Mary in the garden by the tomb. Next, Jesus “appeared” to the two disciples along the road to Emmaus, then among the disciples gathered in the locked room, and later at the Sea of Galilee, where He reinstated Peter, as well as in a variety of other places and spaces to teach and equip His followers before He ascended into Heaven. (Read John 20:11-21:25 for specifics) For me, this is a reminder of the incredible power of Christ. We, in our frail humanity, cannot begin to fathom the power held in the hands of our Creator. The very same God who created heaven and earth, bore the sin of the world to redeem all humanity, and then rose from three days dead. Beyond that, He lived and loved and touched and equipped those around Him further, before He ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father, where He is ever moving on our behalf. It is no wonder they say that “Hope Rises.”  It does indeed. Christ rose. The sun rises each new day. As the weight of fear, suffering, sin and sorrow are laid at His feet, we are empowered and strengthened to rise. I wonder if that is why God created day and night the way that He did. Each morning as the sun rises, we have the opportunity to be reminded that the Son rose for us; new hope, new help, every single day. May we embrace the truth that HE HAS RISEN, and allow hope to rise in all of us on this glorious Easter morning. Let the world rejoice, for hope has risen, HE is alive!

 

 

Imagine the tomb, Statements of Praise

Cold, lifeless and still;

Guarded, protected,

O God, what’s Your will?

All of a sudden,

The earth starts to shake;

Terrifying light,

Moves the stone away.

From atop the stone,

A voice then declares;

“Do not be afraid,

He’s no longer there.”

Guards frozen in fear,

Ladies look in awe;

Just grave clothes remain,

This scene that they saw.

What He had promised,

Had now come to pass;

Jesus had risen,

Our hope that shall last.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to live and love, to die and rise again, so that we might know the hope that is found in You alone. Thank You that today is a day to remember how powerfully hope rises, as You rose up out of the grave and defeated death for our sake. Forgive us for forgetting the power held in hope that rises, for You have the power to resurrect anything. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope, strength, light and life. Show us how to love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look into the empty tomb and see that the Son has risen for us anew, so that we may know hope in You. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

 

*If you need an Easter service to join, please join me at Grace Church, 10am, PST. ❤