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

A New Thing

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

“So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

Of course, it is important to look back, reflect, and remember God’s goodness in the days gone by, yet we do not want to dwell in it and not look forward with anticipation for all that lies ahead. God is ever making things new, as He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. Our purpose is not used up or merely a thing of the past. Each day we draw breath, God has purpose for our lives. He opens doors, levels paths, and helps us navigate obstacles to continue to walk in His ways. I know for many of us, 2022 was not a year that we have any desire to repeat. However, even so, we can look back at His faithfulness and carry that with us as we look forward to the coming year. No matter what comes, God is good, and He is for us. We need not worry about the future, but rather ought to view what is yet to come as opportunity for God to show up and demonstrate His goodness and love. It is fascinating, as the older I get, the more I recognize that I am present in the moments, rather than worrying about taking photos. I put together a year in review collage of some highlights, only to discover there were many moments missed in pictures that left a lasting imprint on my heart. God is so good, and I can look forward with eager anticipation for all the new that He will do. May we ever seek the Lord and wait on Him, for He prepares the way, walks beside us, and never leaves us as we journey this life with Him.

Look ahead in faith,

Choose trust in the Lord;

He’s paving the way,

As we walk forward.

As we look to Him,

No matter what comes;

Trust is made certain,

May His will be done.

Always God is good,

And He remains near;

Our help and our hope,

Remover of fear.

Look back with all thanks,

For His faithfulness;

With eyes fixed forward,

On coming newness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can look back and see how You walked beside us to help us know that You will always be present in all that lies ahead. Thank You that in You, we have a hope and a future. Forgive us for the times that we have fixated on the past rather than looked forward to what You will do in and through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would gaze into the coming year with gladness, knowing that You will make a way and do new things. Lead us to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your love and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look forward to all that You will do in the coming year. Amen.

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

To be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:23-24

Peace in All Things

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” – (John 16:33, MSG)

Jesus did not candy-coat things, nor lead anyone to believe that trusting in Him would suddenly make all our troubles disappear, but rather He let us know that despite the troubles of the world, in Him, we can have peace. This past year, God has continued to show me how true these words can be. In both seasons of trial and those of blessing, His peace has been made present as I pressed into trusting Him. Everything we face, He has already faced and overcome. Jesus knows how we feel as we face fires and understands how to provide His peace amid them. We can be brave in the comfort of His love as we recognize that He is far greater than anything we may face, and trust that He will remain with us as we navigate everything that comes our way. God is good in all, and the presence of His peace reminds us of how deeply we are loved. May we look back with thanksgiving for His unending faithfulness, and look forward with peace, knowing that He goes before us and will remain with us in and through all things.

Peace through the trials,

The Lord’s ever near;

To walk beside us,

And calm all our fears.

Jesus has conquered,

He has overcome;

Every trial,

Already it’s done.

For He goes before,

And walks alongside;

Providing His peace,

As we choose abide.

Rest in His mercy,

Let His love surround;

Trust in His goodness,

It’s where peace is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we will face struggles, You have promised to be present and be our perfect peace. Thank You that in all things, You remain near, and show us that as we seek You, You always hear. Forgive us for our frustrations with the challenges that come. Teach us to embrace the grace that You give to help us navigate, and let our hearts praise You for Your presence, even when things are not as we might hope. Lead us to live in the hope that we hold in eternity, for all that is in the here and now is temporary, yet You are forever. Show us how to love those around us with an eternal perspective. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and Your perfect peace in all things and at all times. 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

The Throne of Grace

This is a post from a few years ago, yet is so timely right now…

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

 

This is a timely reminder this morning, as I find myself on the brink of burnout. It is easy to remember to approach God on His throne of grace to petition on behalf of those around me, but I don’t think that I go before God often enough for the mercy and grace that I truly need. Don’t get me wrong, I pray for strength to get through the day and patience to persevere; but really boldly stepping into His throne room to rest and refresh and meet my own deepest needs – seldom, to rarely, at best. Perhaps it is a matter of looking for ways to keep a Sabbath. Rest is not my forte, and to do so would require serious intentionality. To find grace and mercy and help when we need it most, looks different for each person. For me, I feel closest to our Creator when I am outside in the beauty that He has made. When my body is moving, my mind and heart are able to find rest. For others, rest is a matter of being still. What does appear to be clear is that I need to make time to be intentionally in a space where my heart and mind are fixed on God, just being present (without studying, writing, or any sort of specific doing), so that His mercy, grace and help may be made tangibly known. May we each be intentional to step boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may find mercy and grace and help when we need it most.

 

Go to the throne room, Made With Purpose

Seek God and His grace;

Rest in His presence,

Receive His embrace.

For as we choose rest,

Let our minds be still;

God’s goodness and help,

Floods as mercy fills.

Choose set aside time,

By grace, enter in;

Be refreshed in love,

It’s where peace begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You made the way through Your Son, so that we can come before Your throne and be in Your presence, and You grant us mercy and grace and the help we are needing. Thank You that You are greater than every challenge we face, and that You provide Your help and presence, with mercy and grace. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time just being present with You. Teach us how to rest in You. Show us what it means to find rest and refreshment in Your throne room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and refreshes where weariness is setting in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and are forever grateful that we can come into Your presence and receive mercy and grace and help. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Where Peace Can Be Found

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

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

This morning, Thor, our Lab, woke me up at 2:00 am. I brought him upstairs to take him to go outside, but when I took him back downstairs, he would not stop whining until I gave up and brought him back upstairs at 3:00 am to be up. After he was fed, he climbed on my lap and has shown no sign of any desire to do anything else. Where am I going with this? For Thor, his place of peace was found on my lap with a full belly; for us, we can find the ultimate perfect peace when we trust in Jesus and depend on Him. God settles our hearts and minds in His presence, and provides the peace that comes from Him alone. Knowing He holds us in the hollow of His hands is much like the completely content countenance that Thor displays in that space of simply resting in the security of loving arms (or a blanket-covered lap). God has us, and He will provide the places of peace where we need it, and will show us again and again the goodness of His love and the peace that He supplies. He is not inconvenienced by our need, nor does He refuse us time in His presence. The more we seek Him, the more aware we become of His presence and the perfect peace that He alone provides. May we ever dedicate our hearts and minds to You, and recognize with thanksgiving, the goodness of Your presence, peace and love.

A warm and safe space,

To rest and sink in;

Where peace can be found,

No matter what’s been.

The hand that holds us,

When chaos ensues;

The calm that comes close,

No matter our view.

Each time we choose trust,

God makes His heart known;

Wraps us in His peace,

As goodness is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your perfect peace when we place our trust in You. Your peace is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is present despite what surrounds us as we trust You to be near. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You when storms come our way. Teach us to seek You to be our anchor through each storm and our warm, peaceful space of safety no matter what comes. Show us how to trust You more. Lead us in Your love to present Your peace and goodness to those around us in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our trust in You and rest in Your perfect peace. Amen.

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

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

Showered With Grace

Lord, be gracious to us! We wait for You. Be our strength every morning and our salvation in times of trouble. – (Isaiah 33:2, HCSB)

Lord, be kind to us. We have waited for Your help. Give us strength every morning. Save us when we are in trouble. – (Isaiah 33:2, ERV)

We’ve been waiting for You, Eternal One, to come and shower us with grace. In the morning, be our strength; in times of trouble, be what saves us. – (Isaiah 33:2, VOICE)

As we wait on the Lord, He meets us with His grace. Each new morning that we seek Him, He is faithful to arm us with strength. When troubles come, God is our help and our hope that saves us. This is a great reminder that we need not worry about tomorrow; instead, we ought to seek, trust and listen to the Lord, as He is faithful to ready and equip us for what each new day shall hold. Sundays are a perfect time to place this into practice. I love that a good chunk of my morning includes time with my church family, as we gather to worship, listen and grow. However, each Sunday evening brings the reminder that the following morning will be the start of a new week. At that point, I feel ill-equipped to take on all that lies ahead, yet God is faithful to meet me each new morning, and provides what is needed to navigate the day. It requires His strength, for on my own, I am not equipped to do all that is asked of me. With God, somehow what is needed is present as I keep walking forward. May we ever wait on the Lord to continue to shower us with His grace, and seek Him anew every morning, for it is in this space that He supplies strength and reminds us that He will be present to help, no matter what lies ahead.

O Lord, we seek You,

Your mercy and grace;

Faithful forever,

In all of Your ways.

You arm us with strength,

You are our supply;

Grace overwhelming,

Peace we can’t deny.

When troubles do come,

Ever You are near;

Giving what’s needed,

To overcome fear.

O God, we praise You,

For all that You are;

Our help, hope and grace,

Who never is far.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and ever near to help us anew every morning. Thank You that You strengthen us to persevere when trials come, and equip us and keep us safe in Your care. Forgive us for our anxiousness about what lies ahead, for You are faithful to be present each time we ask. Teach us to ever seek You in all that we do. Show us how to love those around us with Your grace and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to strengthen and equip us with Your goodness and grace so that we continue to become who You have created us to be. Amen.

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

To Be Community

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – (Psalm 133:1, NIV)

Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people come together as one! – (Psalm 133:1, ERV)

How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in peace! – (Psalm 133:1, VOICE)

There are few things as wonderful as being in a community that works together and maintains peace among themselves. As an educator, I am in a unique situation, as many of my colleagues and I have worked together at our school for many years. Though different personalities and passions outside of school, we are united in purpose. Even when our circumstances have been less than ideal (think entire Covid lockdown and then navigating return) we have supported and encouraged each other. Because I have been the utility teacher that has been shuffled from subject to subject and grade to grade, I have had the opportunity to work closely with many of my colleagues over the years. It has been a blessing to get to know and work closely with each. It really does feel familial and is the reason I have spent my entire career at one school. My hope and prayer is that the students too, will feel the sense of family and learn to function together in peace. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to live together in peace with those whom He has placed in our lives.

United purpose,

Helps us each to see;

To work together,

In sweet harmony.

For peace shall be found,

As we look to see;

The needs of others,

Intentionally.

Oh it is so good,

And pleasant to be;

In supportive space,

True community.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that it is good and pleasing to You when we work together for the common good and allow Your peace to reign. Thank You that as we live and work together, it feels familial. Forgive us for the times that we have done anything to upset the peace that You intended to be present. Teach us to seek You to lead us in Your love so that we may live as brothers and sisters that pursue the good You have set before us. Show us how to love as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us to live as brothers and sisters to extend Your goodness and peace to all. Amen.

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

Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace. – Psalm 85:10

Comfort and Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up. – (Psalm 94:19, MSG)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

The psalmist who penned this Psalm knew and understood the nature of God, individually; personally. Throughout time, this has remained true. Whenever we worry, find ourselves anxious or upset, or become overwhelmed with cares, as we slow down and seek the Lord, He brings us comfort and joy, even in the midst of circumstances that are not ideal. God is good and loving and kind, and He provides comfort in our cares and peace in our spaces of unrest. His love has brought joy in the midst of horrible situations. 

A few years ago, my mom suffered a massive stroke. The circumstances and situation surrounding it were devastating. However, God made a way for me to be with her and to spend the first few months following the incident with her. He brought joy and laughter to us both, even in the most challenging of circumstances. We were able to delight in simple things, and His goodness and grace were overwhelmingly apparent. It has been a roller coaster of a road to recovery ever since, but all the while, God has brought comfort and joy to us all each step of the way. 

May we ever look to the Lord when we feel our cares compounding, for He is faithful to meet us in our moments, as He shows us His goodness and love, and comforts us with true joy that comes from Him alone.

The Lord brings comfort,

Sunset on Oahu. ❤

When chaos surrounds;

He’s peace that’s present,

And love that astounds.

God grants us His joy,

In the midst of pain;

He lightens our load,

And shows us He reigns.

When worry creeps in,

And peace slips away;

Seek the Lord Jesus,

For He is the way.

The way to know joy,

When it seems so far;

His love overwhelms,

Wherever we are.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us in our chaos and anxiety and bring us comfort and joy. Thank You that You are our peace in all things and at all times. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to flood our hearts with anxiousness and fear. Teach us to turn to You in all things, and to trust You to lead us through with Your goodness and strength. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might be bearers of joy and comfort in challenging times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times, knowing that You alone are our source of comfort and joy. Amen.

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

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. – Isaiah 49:13

Hope Overflowing

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, HCSB)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

When we know and understand the hope that God alone provides, joy and peace are present and hope grows and overflows from us. Hope is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather is present despite them. We all experience mountains and valleys in our lives, and with God, we can still know peace and joy in the midst of the most difficult seasons. May we ever seek the Lord to grow our faith and trust in Him so that our hope overflows and His joy and peace are ever present.

May the God of hope,

Fill you with all joy;

Peace that comes from faith,

As love is employed.

Hope overflowing,

Is how the Lord gives;

As we trust in Him,

To lead us to live.

Live in His presence,

Where hope’s always found;

Goodness and His grace,

In Him do abound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all hope is found in You. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time in Your presence, You fill us more and more with Your joy and peace as hope overflows from the abundance You grow within us. Forgive us for thinking joy and peace are dependent on our circumstances. Thank You that they are dependent on You alone. Thank You that You provide peace and joy through all things and at all times, despite our circumstances. Teach us to trust and depend on You to be our hope. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your joy, peace, and hope overflow to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You because You are our hope, and the place where we find joy and peace are present, always. Amen.

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

May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. – Psalm 33:22

Love and Acceptance Unite Us in Peace

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, HCSB)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, ERV)

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, VOICE)

As I have been pondering these verses this morning, I did a quick search on humility. The best explanation I found was by C.S. Lewis, as he stated, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but it is thinking of yourself less.” If we raise our eyes and look around us, we are able to see others and how we might love as God intended. Gentleness comes alongside another without pushiness or demands, but rather it is simply seeing a need and quietly doing what we can without making a big deal out of it. Patience and acceptance with love is meeting people where they are, as they are, and choosing to love. As we do these things, God’s peace is present and we are able to be united in love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might accept one another in love and be united together in His perfect peace.

O Lord, please show us,

To look out and see;

Those all around us,

To love patiently.

Grant us Your goodness,

And gentleness too;

Patience and kindness,

To show Your heart true.

Lead us to accept,

Each other in love;

In peace, unite us,

By Your grace above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be humble, gentle and patient with each other. Thank You that as we do these things, we become united together and Your peace reigns. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked humility, gentleness or patience. Teach us to trust in You to lead and guide us in Your love for each other. Show us how to care for one another well so that Your love is evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love in ways that promote unity and make Your peace evident. Amen.

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

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8