Hope in the Unseen

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. – (Hebrews 11:1, TLB)

 

This is an interesting verse to land on for Mother’s Day. I knew on Friday, the direction I was to take for the weekend, however, only the verses, not the actual unpacking. As I read Hebrews 11:1 several times, and then read it again in a variety of translations, my mind was flooded with the connection between faith, hope, being a mother, and our current journey with mom. You see, the very process of becoming a mom is crazy connection to this very verse. For nine months, or in my case, a bit less, a woman has to be confident in hope and assured about the growing child(ren) within her. There is no guarantee, nor sneak preview with an instruction manual (though the ultrasounds they have now are amazing!), and despite tests and precautions, there is no one that can determine everything, rather it is a walk of faith, trusting and hoping in that which we do not see. Because I was carrying twins, and one was smaller than the other, I had to walk by faith and be assured in Who I knew, not the potential theories of why. As many of you know, I have two giant, incredible young men, that are now seventeen, and nearly finished with their junior year of high school. They are tender and kind, smart, funny, talented, super sensitive to the needs of others, and wise beyond their years.

With mom, each day is a new walk of faith. We have the confident assurance that God is her healer and that He is, and will continue to bring complete and total healing. The challenge is being patient in the waiting, and holding hope in that which we do not see yet. In the quiet moments, mom and I have had a few conversations about this very thing. She will ask about what comes next; after rehabilitation. I look at her with all of the love in my heart, and answer honestly, saying, “I don’t know yet, but God does.” I remind her of how He has brought her this far in such a short time, so we cannot even fathom what He has in store for her in both the time remaining at the current facility, and in the months to come. We talk about how He knows the desires of her heart, and He honors those who love Him. Oh how she loves Him…

Though some days are easier than others to trust and hope in that which is unseen, when we do, we discover blessings and strength, help and hope, that go far beyond what we could have come up with on our own. May we lean into the Lord with confident hope, trusting Him for that which we cannot yet see.

 

Faith is confidence, img_2019-05-12_07-18-297605007519689366231.jpg

Where our hope may dwell;

Complete assurance,

As fear He dispels.

Though we may not see,

Things hoped for, quite yet;

We’re in the Lord’s hands,

We mustn’t forget.

Our God is greater,

Than all that is seen;

He hears our heart cry,

And shows what hope means.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are greater than any obstacle that comes our way, and that though “unseen”, You are more tangible than our next breath. Forgive us for not taking pause to remember Your faithfulness so many times before, great and small, to inspire the faith within us to rise again when it grows weary. Teach us to trust You more, especially in the areas where so little is known or seen. Take our hands and lead us, as You have done so many times before. Show us how to love those around us as we walk with You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we have confident faith in You, our Heavenly Father, and hope for, with assurance, that which we cannot yet see. Amen.

 

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

 

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10

A Silent Saturday

Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. – (Mark 15:44-46, NIV)

 

After the devastation of the cross, a faithful few prepared Jesus’ body and buried Him in a tomb. By sun up, it would be the Sabbath, and no one would be going anywhere or doing anything. The disciples and other followers of Jesus likely spent the day in mourning. Meanwhile, the chief priests and the Pharisees were not at all at ease. They went to Pilate because they recalled the words of Jesus, and clearly had concerns about what might transpire in the coming days.

 

“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So, give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” – (Matthew 27:63-64, NIV)

 

Consequently, Pilate ordered his guards to make the tomb secure and to stand guard at the tomb. That Saturday, all seemed to be silent. Jewish law kept mourners from moving about and doing much of anything, and I imagine that each of the faithful followers of Jesus retreated to their own homes and pondered all that had transpired in the previous twenty-four hours. It is as if the world stopped spinning, and all were stuck in a silent space of grief and disbelief. For me, knowing the whole story, I am in a space between awe and agony at the weight of all that Jesus bore on my behalf, and the anticipation of celebration, knowing that He conquered death and rose again the very next day.  Today is a space of waiting. Silent reflection and appreciation are what flood my heart and mind. I mourn my own sinfulness, yet overflow with gratitude for the salvation that is granted because He bore it all for me. May we each find our own quiet moments to reflect on the magnitude of what our Maker did for us all as we stay in this space of sacred silence.

 

This day of waiting, A SIlent Saturday

Sabbath long ago;

The Savior, buried,

Seemed hope’s final blow.

The world lay silent,

The Savior was dead;

Where were they to go,

What could have been said?

Silent reflection,

Such grief on that day;

What could have been done,

Unrealized grace.

O painful waiting,

To go to the tomb;

Observe in anguish,

Savior’s seeming doom.

The stillness gave way,

For we know the end;

Death could not hold Him,

As He rose again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to make the way for us to be restored unto You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin upon Yourself; for we are the ones deserving sanctions of suffering, not You. Forgive us for not fully embracing the weight of what You have done for us, or for questioning whether or not Your sacrifice truly covered it all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the mercy and grace provided at the cross, and demonstrate our gratitude by living a life that ever seeks Your will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes the promise that joy comes in the morning no matter how dark the night appears, evident. May many come to embrace the grace that You made possible through Your death and resurrection on this holy weekend so long ago. Be glorified O God, as we set our hearts in silent reflection over all that You did to make us acceptable in Your sight. Amen.

 

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

 

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. – John 16:22

A Final Act of Love

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. The men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” – (Luke 24:1-5, NLT) 

 

Though Jesus had told those who followed Him that He would rise again, I imagine it was still difficult to conceive, as the very idea was a seeming impossibility. As I attempt to place myself in the position of one of the women who went to the tomb that morning, I picture women overwhelmed with grief as they walked toward the resting place of their Redeemer. This Savior whom they loved, was now three days in the grave, and they were prepared to interact with His broken body as a final act of love and a way to say goodbye. The tomb had been sealed by a giant boulder, immovable, even by a malicious act of will. Imagine the shock that flooded their hearts and minds as they approached the tomb when they saw that the stone had been rolled away. Fear? Anger? Concern? What could have happened to the body of their beloved? Then, as they stood there puzzling over what was missing, two men in dazzling robes appeared out of nowhere. Clearly the women recognized that the men were messengers from God, as they bowed their faces to the ground in terror. From sorrow to confusion to frustration to fear, these ladies must have been flooded as heaven came near. And then, after all of that, to hear that Jesus was alive… The women navigated the roller coaster quite gracefully, as the very next thing they did was go and tell the disciples what they had seen and heard.  

This is the very day that we celebrate and remember the miracle of the resurrection. The grave could not hold Him, and He is alive and moving on our behalf. May we remember our Risen Savior as we go about this day and know that His sacrifice saved us while His resurrection reminds us that we are no longer dead in sin.  

 

Early Sunday morn, Hope in an Empty Tomb

They went to the tomb; 

Grieving act of love, 

No hope yet assumed. 

Imagine their hearts, 

With Jesus not there; 

Distraught and confused, 

The Lord is gone. Where? 

Angelic visit, 

In dazzling light; 

The women bowed low, 

Faced the ground in fright. 

The men then asked them, 

“Why did you come here? 

Don’t look among dead, 

For live to appear.” 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for all of our sin and shame. Thank You that the grave could not hold You, and that You rose again and are seated at the right hand of the Father, moving on our behalf. Thank You that in You we can have life and light and love forever. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your sacrifice and the glory of Your resurrection. Help us to grasp the enormity of Your mercy and grace. Show us how to extend love and goodness to those around us as an outpouring of our gratitude to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise and give You glory for Your love that defeated death and gives life to all who receive You as Lord. 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

Overcoming Power

“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what He told you back in Galilee, that the son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.” – (Luke 24:6-7, NLT)

 

Grief does funny things to our ability to think clearly. I can only begin to imagine the weight of the sorrow shared by those who had walked closely beside Jesus, prior to His crucifixion. Despite His having told those dear to Him what had to happen, and what would happen after, if they were anything like most of us, they probably could not grasp anything beyond His having to die. Even more surreal to see in one’s mind, is the arrival at the empty tomb. What began as shock, horror, and perhaps even outrage that Jesus’ body was missing, was quickly turned to worshipful awe, as they were greeted by angels who told them what had happened. It had to have been quite a sight to see, if the first words from those whom God had sent, was, “Don’t be afraid.” I envision it being a two-fold extension of kindness. Don’t be afraid of us, and do not be afraid of what you do not see. It did not take long for the truth that they had been told prior to Jesus’ death to be recalled, and suddenly, everything changed. Mourning turned to gladness, and sorrow surrendered to great joy! Jesus had risen! May we rise this day and remember the reason for the festivities. The Light of the world defeated death and conquered the grave so that we could have life everlasting in Him.

 

Two days of darkness,Hope in an Empty Tomb

Then third day, He rose;

Defeating the grave,

All hope to disclose.

Greeted by angels,

At the empty tomb;

Awe and amazement,

Minds blown at the truth.

Though He had foretold,

Was hard to believe;

No more was Christ dead,

He’d risen indeed.

What joy they had found,

Their sorrow, no more;

Jesus has risen,

Worship and adore!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You did not stop at the death on the cross on our behalf, but You showed us Your power as You defeated death and overcame the grave so that we could have life everlasting in You. Thank You that the very same power that conquered the grave is available to all who trust in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to defeat our resolve, rather than turning to trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone have the power to carry us through every circumstance. Show us how to live and love boldly, as we have been given all that we need to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to fill us so that we may live and love in the overcoming power You place in each of us. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 54:8

Let Love Prevail

And do everything with love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, NLT)

Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, ERV)

Love without stopping. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, MSG)

Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, VOICE)

 

Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians is a call that is still asked of us today. Now, more than ever, we need to operate out of a place that is motivated by love. If love alone were to determine what we do and say, imagine how much gentler and kinder our surroundings would become. This should not merely be something to imagine, rather it needs to be something that we bring to fruition. It begins with a choice. One word. One deed. One intentional action motivated by love, rather than by selfishness. As we operate out of selflessness, and choose to see the needs of others first, the atmosphere of an area begins to change. Kindness is contagious, and love extended, often comes back in a gentle return. May we choose to do everything in love, for His love shall prevail in our lives, our words and our actions, as we seek the Lord to direct our steps.

 

May all that we do,Faith and Hope in Action

Be done with His love;

There’s nothing greater,

To help overcome.

So let love prevail,

In life, word and deed;

Love without stopping,

Help give where there’s need.

In places of hurt,

Still governed by pain;

Gently extend love,

So they’ll rise again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as we are loved by You. Thank You that You love us without ceasing. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Forgive us for withholding love or for placing conditions on who, when or where we choose to give love. Teach us to trust You more, as You ask us to love without stopping, just as You love us. Show us how to love those around us with our life, words and actions, so that they may know the depth and breadth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to let love prevail in our lives, words and deeds. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

The Presence of Peace

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)

 

Jesus willingly went to the cross, rose from the grave and returned to the Father so that He could send us His Spirit to grant us His peace. His peace is not the sort of peace the world envisions, where there is merely an absence of conflict. The peace of Christ, our Comforter in chaos, grants us a supernatural settling in knowing He is God and we are not, even in the midst of chaos. His peace removes our need for fear of the future, and sends stress back where it belongs. The Lord does not long for our hearts to be troubled nor afraid, but He wants us to lean on Him and allow His strength, grace, goodness and love to move in the midst of whatever we face. He is far greater than anything that we are enduring, and His peace is available and present if we only slow down and seek Him. Let us look to the Lord who grants us true peace that will last forever, as He takes away the fear of whatever we are facing and supplies us the strength and endurance required to press on.

 

Peace is so much more,No Matter What Comes

than a state of calm;

it’s Christ in chaos,

our true healing balm.

When facing trouble,

His presence is near;

He answers our call,

each whisper He hears.

Hearts be not troubled,

and don’t be afraid;

for the peace of Christ,

is present each day.

It takes but a look,

to slow down and see;

how near that He is,

to you and to me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to come and carry our troubles and fears to the cross, and rise again to return to You, sending Your Holy Spirit to be our Help and our Comfort in all things and at all times. Forgive us for seeking peace as the world might search, and teach us to look to You in all things and at all times, even when peace seems beyond attainable in our storms. Lead us to lean into You, so that we would know Your peace no matter what is going on around us. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, may come to know Your perfect peace, regardless of the storm they may be facing. Be glorified O God, as we receive the peace that You alone give, and allow not our hearts to be troubled nor fearful. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Beyond Brokenness

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – (Psalm 34:18)

 

God does not promise that we will never become brokenhearted, rather He assures us that He will remain close. Though our spirits may seem crushed for a season, Christ saves us from our sorrow and helps us rise again. In fact, it is often in the midst of heartache that beauty begins to rise from the ashes. I know in my own life, I am constantly in awe of how quickly He can utilize my own experiences of brokenness to encourage someone who is experiencing something similar. When we are willing to share our story, no matter how tattered and torn it may appear, God can use it to build up, challenge, encourage, and touch the lives of others. May we remember how very near our Savior stays, even in our brokenness, and trust Him who saves, when we are crushed in spirit; for His plans are good, and He turns tragedy into triumph when we trust in Him.

 

The Lord remains close,Chosen With Purpose

He is ever near;

to brokenhearted,

and those wracked with fear.

He saves the oppressed,

whose spirits are crushed;

His presence breathes life,

His love is enough.

Even in mire,

when ashes surround;

as we trust in Him,

true beauty is found.

Let the Lord’s light shine,

in darkness and pain;

as we trust in Him,

His hope will remain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are close to the brokenhearted and that You save those who are crushed in spirit. Thank You that though we all go through seasons of sorrow and heartache, You are present and You utilize such seasons to refine us and draw us closer to You. Thank You that even in the midst of the ugliest of ashes, You can bring beauty as You give life to others through our willingness to share what You have done and are doing in our own lives. Forgive us for forgetting how very close You are when we are in the midst of our own brokenness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will allow You room to move, as You stretch and grow us in the painful places where we would rather not be. Lead us to reach out and love well, even when we want to isolate because of our own issues. May many be lead to You, as they see the truth of Your light and love, even in the midst of our own darkness. Be glorified O God, as we walk well with You, even in our brokenness. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8