Jesus is Our Refuge in Suffering

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. – (Psalm 62:1-2, NIV)

I must calm down and turn to God; only He can rescue me. He is my Rock, the only one who can save me. He is my high place of safety, where no army can defeat me. – (Psalm 62:1-2, ERV)

God, the One and only – I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I need comes from Him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I’m set for life. – (Psalm 62:1-2, MSG)

Though I have not been suffering, I have been navigating uncharted territory through this whole skin cancer ordeal. From biopsy of the unknown to a bigger biopsy to determine nature of what had become known, to the confirmation that my new normal will include a medical team to watch diligently, to make certain that what was surgically removed, will not return. In the coming weeks, I have two appointments with two different oncologists, and an appointment with a dermatologist. Again, I am not in a space of suffering, but I am in a space of uncertainty of the unknown. God has been faithful to be ever near as I have walked through two biopsies and two surgeries that followed. I can trust Him to be faithful to remain near as we navigate all that lies ahead. Thankfully, His peace has been present and He is helping keep fear at bay. Yes, the not knowing makes me uneasy, but the certainty in knowing that He will be with me grants the courage to keep pressing forward without allowing the unknowns to monopolize my thoughts. Also, He has provided financially, as being double-covered with medical insurance has kept the bills that have come to a minimum. The Message says it well, as it states, “He’s the solid rock under my feet, and breathing room for my soul…” May we ever seek the Lord in our uncertainty, suffering or sorrows, for He is our refuge and the One on whom we can depend.

Present through trials,

God is ever near;

Foundation to stand,

As He calms each fear.

Forever our hope,

Our place of refuge;

Comfort Provider,

Love that each day’s new.

Help us rise up, Lord,

Our strength comes from You;

All thanks and our praise,

Are unto You, due.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, and that You are our refuge in suffering. Thank You that You promise to be present through every trial as we call on You to be near. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for in all things, the ultimate outcome is forever with You. Teach us to have an eternal perspective and to trust in You to be our strength and peace. Lead us to love those around us in ways that promote peace, pray for healing and wholeness, and bring hope to spaces that hope is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our comfort and praise You for Your unending faithfulness that we know is true. Amen.

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

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

The Blessings of Strength and Peace

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

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

I have experienced this so much over the last few days. For each surgery, God gave me the strength that I needed, and His peace was present. Yesterday, as I had reconstructive surgery on my lip where the cancer had been removed the day prior, I was at total peace as I was checked in and prepped for the process. Again, the procedure took less time than anticipated, and the pain has been tolerable. This morning, though I woke far earlier than planned, I felt good and was glad to be up when one of my kiddos wandered up the stairs not feeling great. Being able to offer advice, comfort and company is still a blessing, even when your kids are adults. It seems that the same sort of peace that I received, is now being passed on to my son as he is resting on the couch with me and the pups. God is good, and He is faithful to supply the strength we need and will be our peace whenever we call on His Name. As we move into this weekend of celebrating Christ, who came to us as a baby, grew into a man, and showed us God in the flesh as He lived, loved, and gave His life for us, only to rise again to sit at the right hand of the Father and constantly contend for us all, may we prioritize give Him praise for His forever faithful ways.

God is our comfort,

Faithful place of peace;

Strength when we’re weary,

All goodness released.

O Lord, we praise You,

For all that You are;

The Light of the world,

For all near and far.

When we’re uncertain,

Of what lies ahead;

The Lord will guide us,

In His strength we’re led.

Praise to You, Father,

And praise to the Son;

And to the Spirit,

Godhead, three-in-One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our Provider of peace. Thank You that You are loving and kind and faithful. Thank You that You are our Healer too. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we face unknowns. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and promote peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as receive Your strength and peace with gladness and give You all the glory because You are so good. Amen.

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

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – Isaiah 26:3

Protective Plumage

He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. – (Psalm 91:4, HCSB)

You can go to Him for protection. He will cover you like a bird spreading its wings over its babies. You can trust Him to surround and protect you like a shield. – (Psalm 91:4, ERV)

Like a bird protecting its young, God will cover you with His feathers, will protect you under His great wings; His faithfulness will form a shield around you, a rock-solid wall to protect you. – (Psalm 91:4, VOICE)

Feathers provide protection, warmth, and the structure to support flight. The imagery of being covered with God’s feathers is one that feels gentle and strong, supportive and freeing, as protection and warmth are things that make us feel secure enough to spread our wings and take flight. Being surrounded by His wings provides a safe, warm space where we can rest and take refuge in Him. In this season, as the busy and unexpected challenges arise, it is so good to know that we have a safe space where we are covered, protected, and supported so that we can keep moving forward. May we ever seek the Lord to cover us with His wings, as He surrounds us like a shield and teaches us to take flight.

We are protected,

Surrounded, kept warm;

A shield about us,

Through all of life’s storms.

Covered by strong wings,

To rest and delight;

Renewed and strengthened,

So we may take flight.

To soar each season,

We find ourselves in;

And rise in His strength,

Despite where we’ve been.

Lean into His wings,

Both gentle and strong;

Secure and stable,

By grace we belong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You cover us with Your strong and gentle wings, and You protect and encourage, through all that life brings. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we lose sight of Your nearness. Teach us to lean into You and to rest in the hollow of Your wings. Show us how to love those around us with similar gentleness, protection and strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to cover us with Your wings. Amen.

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

Keep me safe, my God, for in You I take refuge. – Psalm 16:1

Clean and New

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – (Psalm 51:10, HCSB)

God, create a pure heart in me, and make my spirit strong again. – (Psalm 51:10, ERV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new. – (Psalm 51:10, VOICE)

As I gaze upon the freshly fallen snow, and the world looks clean and new, I am reminded that God does this for us each time we ask. He wipes away all of our guilt and shame, and provides a new start as we seek Him. Each time I fall short and am given a fresh start, I am compelled to do and be better. God is faithful to meet us each time we seek Him, and His heart is to ever give us a fresh start. May we ever seek the Lord to cleanse us and strengthen us so that we may clearly reflect His goodness and His love.

O God, cleanse my heart,

May it be made pure;

Strengthen my spirit,

As You remain near. 

Lead me in Your love,

May Your heart move mine;

To love others well,

And always be kind.

With each brand new day,

May I rest assured;

That You are with me,

In You I’m secure.

Ever Your faithful,

So we should be too;

Deepen my love, Lord,

So I love like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You cleanse us and make us new, and You strengthen us for all that we are called to do. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for You are faithful forever. Teach us how to trust You more, so that from the moment we rise to the close of our day, we operate in the lavish goodness of Your unending love. Show us how to love those around us well, and to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to cleanse us and strengthen us by Your love so that we may love likewise. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Beyond Understanding is Love

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding. – (Job 37:5, NIV)

God’s thundering voice is amazing! He does great things we cannot understand. – (Job 37:5, ERV)

The voice of God that is thundering wondrously. He does magnificent things, beyond our comprehension. – (Job 37:5, VOICE)

Who can grasp the greatness of God? If Job, who understood God’s greatest blessings, endured the most difficult hardships, and again found himself blessed beyond what he had known before speaks about how marvelous and unfathomable God is, we cannot begin to pretend to understand all of His ways. The difference for us is that we have the benefit of knowing Jesus, who showed us great glimpses of who God is and how He loves. Jesus chose ordinary men and women to share His love with the world, not the “great” religious leaders of the time. Fishermen, tax collectors and tent-makers, to name a few, were those whom Jesus placed in roles to share His good news with the world. God brought all of creation into existence with His voice, and the intricate details of all that He has made go beyond our realm of understanding. May we ever stand in awe of the greatness of God, and give Him all honor and praise for His marvelous ways as we navigate each new day.

Both in the stillness,

And through mighty roars;

God can silence seas,

And bring end to wars.

He makes mountains move,

And the rain that falls;

Can free the captives,

Our great Lord of all.

Though we cannot see,

All that He can do;

We can trust in faith,

For His word is true.

So, rise up in faith,

Choose trust in the Lord;

For He’s always good,

He whom we adore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You have a voice that thunders with power and might, yet also one that can whisper in the stillness to our hearts. Thank You that Your ways are higher than our own, and that though we cannot grasp all of Your magnificent ways, we can trust in Your goodness and faithfulness and love. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in the spaces that we do not understand. Teach us to trust in You and the power that You hold in the hollow of Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your power and might, and for all of Your ways that go beyond what we can comprehend. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

No Matter What May Come

For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, HCSB)

And now He can help those who are tempted. He is able to help because He Himself suffered and was tempted. – (Hebrews 2:18, ERV)

Since He has also been tested by suffering, He can help us when we are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, VOICE)

Because Jesus was tempted in every way, and He suffered beyond what we can even begin to fathom, He understands and knows how to help us when we struggle. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are completely alone in the midst of struggle or suffering, but the truth is, God is always near. Jesus is ever moving on our behalf. The challenge is to slow down, seek the Lord, and simply sit in His presence. He is faithful to meet us in our seeking, and will hold us up and lead us through the trials that we face. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is faithful, and He will help, hold, and lead us so that we may navigate every difficulty that comes our way.

No matter what comes,

God already knows;

How to best help us,

In His strength, we grow.

Through great temptations,

Or true suffering;

God will be faithful,

Grace and strength He brings.

So, rise up and seek,

Each time you shall find;

More than imagined,

His love does exceed.

Lean into Jesus,

No matter what comes;

He’s present to help,

The great Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and that You understand every trial and suffering that we endure. Thank You that because You have suffered and been tempted in every way, You are able to help and strengthen us to navigate all things. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that they too may come to know Your strength and help and hope in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things and at all times, for in You, there is peace and hope and strength. Amen.

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

Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God. – Jeremiah 42:6

The Grace That Meets Us

And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, HCSB)

And God can give you more blessings than you need, and you will always have plenty of everything. You will have enough to give to every good work. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, ERV)

God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, MSG)

God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, VOICE)

When we give generously of our time, talents and resources, God is able to bless us beyond what we need. He does this so that we are equipped to do what needs to be done, and can share and give, knowing that all that we have is because of Him. In my life, I have experienced this over and over again. As I have chosen to continue to be faithful to give, He has provided all that I have needed and more. God, who made all that is with the work of His hands, is able to supply all that we need. Just this week I have seen this each day. My job has been exhausting, and it has been compounded this week as my husband has been out of town for work. Incredibly, I have gotten better sleep this week than I have in years, despite my intentional choice to continue to rise early to spend time with Him. Additionally, He is providing the help I need to move forward in an assignment that I am ill-prepared to do. It is not by my strength, but by His, and through His loving kindness that He is granting me all that I need and more. May we ever seek God to be our strength and source, so that we may do the good that He is calling us to do.

With goodness and grace,

My sweet, loyal, loving boy, Thor. ❤

The Lord will come near;

He meets all our needs,

And calms all our fears.

Ever He calls us,

To be and do more;

Not in our own strength,

He opens new doors.

Often in a way,

That we have not seen;

So we count on Him,

To learn new routines.

His grace is enough,

For He’s our supply;

To keep pressing on,

He hears ev’ry cry.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us in amazing ways as we choose to keep giving of ourselves as You call us to do. Thank You that You have more than enough of what we need to keep us moving forward in the direction to which we are called. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we cannot see how there is a way. Teach us to ever lean into You, and to continue to pour out to those around us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they too may experience the overflowing goodness of Your kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for who You are and how You meet our needs with Your abundance. Amen.

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

You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. – 2 Corinthians 9:11

The Port of Peace

He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for. – (Psalm 107:29-30, HCSB)

He stopped the storm and calmed the waves. The sailors were happy that the sea became calm, and He led them safely to where they wanted to go. – (Psalm 107:29-30, ERV)

He commanded the storm to calm down, and it became still. A hush came over the waves of the sea, the sailors were delighted at the quiet, and He guided them to their port. – (Psalm 107:29-30, VOICE)

I feel like this is a perfect parallel to the end of the school year. The chaos and craziness of teaching through a pandemic, as the waves roared around us, are being silenced. At 10:30 today, teachers will be rejoicing as calm comes and we make our way into the peaceful harbor of summer. In the same way that educators have been carried through this crazy school year, God carries us through our most tumultuous storms. Challenge, heartache, illness, loss, and places we are lacking, God meets us where we are and walks beside us to the other side. There were days early on in the school year that I questioned my profession and purpose. Somehow, a way was made and things did improve. I have much hope that next year will be far better than this one. Kids will have become acclimated to being back at school, and two grade levels of students will have had a full school year on campus as they return. May we ever seek our Savior who is the calmer of the storms, and the One who is our safe harbor in whom we can delight.

With merely a word,

The storms had to cease;

Into safe harbor,

As calm is released.

Both throughout the storm,

And when the calm comes;

God will be with us,

The most Holy One.

Our anchor that holds,

No matter the waves;

Our Guide to safety,

Throughout all our days.

Now the safe harbor,

Is plainly in sight;

May we give Him praise,

Our strength and delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can calm our chaos with merely a word, and lead us to safe harbor when the storms rage around us. Thank You that You strengthen and support us, and lead us through to places of peace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the storms last longer than we think they should. Teach us to ever trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide safe harbor and extend Your perfect peace, even when storms rage around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our anchor and our Guide throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety. – Psalm 4:8

Our Strength and Help

But You, Lord, don’t be far away. My strength, come quickly to help me. – (Psalm 22:19, HCSB)

Lord, don’t leave me! You are my strength – hurry and help me! – (Psalm 22:19, ERV)

But You, O Eternal, stay close; O You, my help, hurry to my side. – (Psalm 22:19, VOICE)

If David, a mighty warrior who became a powerful king knew to call on the Lord to be his strength in times of trouble or weariness, how much more can we? God is faithful to be near, and He hears us as we call on His Name to be our help and our hope. The Lord strengthens us in our weariness, and remains present through all things. May we ever seek the Lord to be our help, hope and strength, for He is faithful in all things and at all times.

O Lord, be our strength,

Please ever be near;

Our help and our hope,

Who makes our paths clear.

Come quickly, O God,

We need strength and love;

Lead us forward well,

By Your grace above.

Show us Your kindness,

Direct all our ways;

Teach us what is best,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the help and hope that we can depend on. Thank You that You hear our cries for help and You sustain us with Your presence and love. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when our circumstances seem to be too much. Show us again how You love and help us in all things and at all times. Lead us to love and walk alongside one another well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You to be our strength and help throughout all our days. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

Present to Save

Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy. – (Zephaniah 3:17, HCSB)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, He’ll calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, MSG)

God is with us. He is ready to fight on our behalf and save us. As our Father, He delights in His children and brings comfort and peace. We can trust Him to be who He says He is, and that He will do what He says He will do. I find myself in an odd season of life. I know far too many friends who are fighting sickness and disease, yet incredibly, they are each holding on in faith and trusting God as they fight. It is because they know the goodness of God, that they are able to fight and trust and know peace. I’m not sure where I am going with this, other than when we don’t know what to do, God does. He sees, He knows and He cares, and He is with us through all things. May we ever seek the Lord who is present among us, and trust Him to fight, to bring us peace, and to be the hope that we hold in our hearts.

The Lord is present,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

He’s mighty to save;

He’s willing to fight,

For us, each new day.

He takes joy in us,

Because we are His;

His love brings us peace,

He does what He says.

Faithful forever,

In Him we can trust;

Seek Him in all things,

He is good and just.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever, and that we can trust in You in all things and at all times. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, You remain present to help. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things seem dismal. Lead us in Your love, for with You, there is always hope and help. Teach us to love those around us in ways that convey Your goodness and faithfulness forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to trust You to be who You say You are, and to do what You say You will do. Amen.

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

Turn, Lord! Rescue me; save me because of Your faithful love. – Psalm 6:4