The Scope of Suffering

Suffering is a natural part of our human existence. Sinful and broken people cause harm that results in adversity, as well as the mere existence of illness and disease that also provide places of pain, distress and hardship. We are not promised a life that is free from suffering, but rather we have hope and help for comfort and strength in the midst of our struggles, and the hope that is held in the promise of that which is yet to come.

In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. – (1 Peter 5:10, NLT)

Hardship and suffering seem to be seasonal. We go through seasons of struggle and seasons of blessing. In our most challenging times, God affords us the opportunity to seek Him and find Him in ways that we never have before. When we do, we come to know His strength, power and presence, in a tangible way, and recognize the hope we hold in Him. Though the suffering and struggles are never pleasant, they are the spaces in which we grow most, and if we are willing, God can use our trials to touch and encourage the lives of others to draw them closer to Himself. May we recognize the kindness of God, even in the midst of our storms, as He has called us to share in His eternal glory forever. Let His love lead us, as He restores, supports and strengthens us, again setting our feet on His firm foundation so that we may walk wherever He calls.

The God of all grace,Hold My Heart

has called unto us;

to forever trust,

His own Son, Jesus.

For in suffering,

our hope is made known;

as we’re granted strength,

by God on the throne.

He stays by our side,

no matter how rough;

the battle we face,

our God is enough.

He’ll set our feet sure,

both firm and steadfast;

and our hope in Him,

forever shall last.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the suffering and trials that all of us endure at one point or another, You are present and willing to strengthen us and be our help and our hope. Thank You too that though You do not bring the trials nor suffering, You use them to grow us closer to You. Thank You that You can use even our ugliest ashes to bring beauty, hope and strength to another. Forgive us for allowing fear or anxiousness to reign in the midst of suffering and trials. Teach us to place all of our hope in You, so that we would recognize that though the suffering is for a season, glory with You will be for all of eternity. Lead us to love others with an eternal perspective, so that our desire will be that each will come into a saving knowledge of who You are and how You love. May many choose to trust in You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to restore us, strengthen us and make us firm and steadfast for You, despite our trials. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

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Willing Presence

A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. – (Mark 1:40-42)

So much is spoken in such a short passage. Anyone with an illness was considered unclean and untouchable, particularly those with leprosy. Jesus gave a man who had been outcast from society, value, by being willing to hear his request and touch him when all others considered him completely untouchable. Jesus healed the man’s physical condition, but more importantly, He healed his heart. Jesus had told the man to keep the story to himself and only go and show the priests, but the man could not help but go forth and spread the great news – for he had been healed!

The very same God who met the leper in his space of need, is available to touch us in ours. “The Lord gives you the experience of enjoying His presence. He touches you, and His touch is so delightful that, more than ever, you are drawn inwardly to Him.” – (Madame Jeanne Guyon) When we are touched by God, personally, we cannot help but want even more of Him. Once we have encountered a glimpse of who He is, we desire to see and know more. May we go forth this day with our eyes and hearts wide open, ready to observe our Savior in action. For He is alive and active, ready to move in our hearts and lives, always.

The touch of the Lord,Healed Hands Reach Out

to none can compare;

a life ever changed,

once we are aware.

To draw near to Him,

and know that He’s near;

grows in us great strength,

and removes our fears.

There is no delight,

as nearly as sweet;

as coming before,

the Lord’s righteous seat.

He invites us near,

to come closer still;

to taste and to see,

feel His gracious fill.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the gift of Your presence. Thank You that You touch us individually, and through Your touch, we are drawn closer still to You. Forgive us for not bringing both our needs and our praises before You, and teach us to trust You more, so that our every response leads us to You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we enjoy the experience of Your presence and are drawn ever closer unto You. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

An Unlikely Faith

Jairus was a synagogue ruler and a man of societal standing.  He had a tender father’s heart, and an unlikely faith in Christ. Despite his elevated position in society, he went and knelt before Jesus after his daughter had died, and asked Him to come and heal her. Jesus, who recognized his faith, went with Jairus at once.

 

When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, He said, “go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at Him. After the crowd had been put outside, He went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all the region. – (Matthew 9:23-26)

 

The synagogue ruler did not come to Jesus until his daughter was dead – it was too late for anyone else to help. But Jesus simply went to the girl and raised her! In our lives, Christ can make a difference when it seems too late for anyone else to help. He can bring healing to broken relationships, release from addiction, and forgiveness and healing to emotional scars. If all looks hopeless, we must remember that Christ can do the impossible. – (NIV footnotes)

 

Where have death, brokenness, despair, or hopelessness entered in? Though we can do nothing in our own strength to restore life where such destruction lies, we serve the One who can. May we, like Jairus, set aside our pride, and kneel before Him who heals and restores all hope.

 

When all hope seems lost,Approaching the Throne of Grace

we need not despair;

for we serve a God,

Who’s present, aware.

For He knows our need,

before we come ask;

He’s faithful and true,

with us through each task.

Where brokenness reigns,

and hope seems far gone;

healing can occur,

if Christ we lean on.

Forgiveness is found,

and scars are made whole;

impossible done,

O God, we extol.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even when all hope seems lost, there is always hope in You. Thank You that the very same power that raised Jesus from the grave, can restore relationships, heal illness, bring health and wholeness, and grant new life in You. Forgive us for losing sight of just how powerful You truly are, and help us to remember that all things are possible in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may walk by faith and not by our limited sight. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to know the saving power found in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we kneel before You, trusting You to do the seemingly impossible in and around us. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Our Hope for Healing

Royal official,Our Hope for Healing

with son, deathly ill;

heard Christ had returned,

Source of healing’s fill.

To Jesus he went,

and begged Him to come;

to ward off sure death,

from his sickly son.

He questioned the one,

who asked for His touch;

faith unwavering,

royal needed much.

Jesus said to go,

that his son would live;

believing His word,

through faith Christ did give.

While on the way home,

met by his own men;

with word son was healed,

when Christ had spoken.

By faith let’s embrace,

this truth to behold;

for in Him alone,

may healing unfold.

(Responding to John 4:46-53)

After receiving news yesterday that my dear friend, Anne, is being offered additional care because her cancer is taking its toll, I found myself feeling a bit shell-shocked.  For as long as I have known her, she has been fighting.  Her battle began in 2004 with breast cancer.  In 2008, they found cancer in her bones.  This past year, just after Christmas, multiple tumors were found in her brain.  Radiation was successful at shrinking the brain tumors, yet elsewhere in her body, the cancer has not stayed at bay.  I tell you this so that you too, might consider joining me in prayer for Anne. (to read more about Anne’s fight, click the following: A Call to Prayer, and Temple of Trust.)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Healer, and that nothing is impossible for You.  Thank You that today’s reading happened to be a portion of scripture that tells of the miraculous that You have done.  In faith, we are asking for the miraculous in Anne, and in many others who are also fighting this horrific disease.  May Your presence and Your peace surround and embrace all those in the fight while they wait in faith for Your healing to come.  May the miracle You do in Anne, be a powerful testimony to those who do not yet know You.  Amen.

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

The Bearer of Burdens

image by Graham Kraka

image by Graham Kraka

Praise to the Lord,

our God who saves.

Who bears our burdens,

all of our days.

He is sovereign,

over the earth.

His love, mighty,

before our birth.

He is our shield,

protective One.

Lighter of dark;

Fueler of sun.

No harm may come,

to guarded soul;

the eternal –

forever whole.

Though illness comes,

and bodies break;

future secured,

in heaven’s wake.

(Responding to Psalm 68:19-20)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly and willingly bear our burdens so that we don’t have to.  Thank You that You save us from sin, self, and all that seeks to destroy us.  Thank You that You are far greater than anything that would try to come against us.  Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to completely depend on You.  Thank You that You are a shield about us.  Teach us to walk confidently in the covering and light of Your love, so that we too, may love others as You love us.  May many come to know You by our love.  Amen.

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