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

Navigating Unknowns

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

We are commanded to be strong and courageous. This is not a command that says, “Good luck, kid, go take care of things on your own”, but rather is reminding us that because God will be with us wherever we go, we can be strong and courageous in Him. Strength and courage are not things that we can somehow muster on our own, but rather we are filled by the Lord’s overwhelming love, and are granted the strength and courage that we need to navigate life’s unknowns. Today will be a day that I need God’s strength and courage as I go to a pre-operative appointment this afternoon. Though a consultation is not necessarily a fearful thing on its own, the process that lies ahead is scary and unknown. My hope is that strength and courage will increase, and the surgeon will be one who sets my mind at ease. No matter what, I know God will go before me, will remain with me, and will supply what I need as it is needed. He is faithful and I am grateful. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage as we face the unknowns that come our way.

With God as my strength,

What have I to fear?

Always He’s with me,

I know He is near.

He grants me courage,

When alone, there’s none;

He floods me with love,

The most Holy One.

God supplies comfort,

When I am afraid;

I’m held in His hands,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that courage and strength come from You. Thank You that You provide all that we need and more as we seek You. Thank You that You go before us and stay beside us as we walk into the unknowns that life brings. Forgive us for our fears that rise up and try to take root. Teach us to lean on You to lead us and trust in You to guide us through every step that we take. Show us how to be present in the strength and courage You supply. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and courage that You supply and for Your nearness as we navigate unknowns. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

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

All Through Him

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. – (Romans 11:36, HCSB)

Yes, God made all things. And everything continues through Him and for Him. To God be the glory forever! Amen. – (Romans 11:36, ERV)

Everything comes from Him; everything happens through Him; everything ends up in Him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. – (Romans 11:36, MSG)

As we draw ever closer to the close of what has been the most challenging school year yet, I cannot help but give God praise for all He has done throughout every day. He has provided strength in our weariness, and hope in spaces of despair. Today, we begin the twenty-day countdown. Twenty more school-day wakeups and the year will be done. I don’t know about you, but when the days remaining are countable on our fingers and toes, it seems far more manageable. This morning, as I prepare for my day, not only do I present my requests for strength and peace and patience and love, but also, I give God praise for all He has done, is doing, and will continue to do. May we rise with purpose and make the most of each day that we draw breath.

Twenty days remain,

Home stretch…

Until we are through;

Year never-ending,

Almost done, it’s true.

God has been faithful,

To provide our needs;

His grace, sufficient,

And His love exceeds.

On the darkest days, 

In Him, was still light;

The song in our hearts,

Hope, love and delight.

Let us choose rise up,

With purpose, go forth;

Love one another,

And bask in God’s warmth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all things are in You, from You, with You and through You; for You lead, guide, sustain and strengthen us to do more than we ever hoped or imagined. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth of who You are and how You carry us when our strength is gone. Teach us to trust and praise You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may know glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You forever for who You are and how You lovingly lead us through all things. Amen.

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

All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. – John 1:3

Hope in Living Water

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. – (John 4:14, NIV)

But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give people will be like a spring flowing inside them. It will bring them eternal life. – (John 4:14, ERV)

I offer water that will become a wellspring within you that gives life throughout eternity. You will never be thirsty again. – (John 4:14, VOICE)

Jesus spoke these words to a Samaritan woman at the well in the middle of the day. First, Jews and Samaritans did not speak to one another. Second, male and female strangers did not speak to each other. Additionally, people did not typically draw water from the well in the heat of the day. His opening with the woman was simply to ask for a drink of water as she was drawing the water from the well. Her line of questions led to His statement about living water, and eventually to Jesus speaking the truth of who she was, what she had experienced, and what she could have through trusting in God. She embraced the grace that was freely given and then went and told everyone she could find about the One at the well. Her shame was overshadowed by the hope she discovered in Jesus. Incredibly, the same holds true for us still. When we realize the hope and joy that Jesus has for us as we trust in Him, we cannot help but allow His love and hope to radiate from us. May we ever trust in He who is the living water, and walk out our days in the reality of our eternal hope.

O Lord help us trust,

In all that is true;

Our eternal hope,

That is found in You.

Wherever we thirst,

Jesus is the cure;

True living water,

Hope that is assured.

For where there is hope,

There’s also resolve;

To keep keeping on,

As fears soon dissolve.

Rise up in worship,

To Him be all praise;

Our hope forever,

The strength through our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us each at our “wells”, show us where we have been and what we have done, and freely and lovingly offer us new life in You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You, or have lost sight of the hope that is forever in You. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times, and to remember that Your love is without limits or conditions. Show us how to love and accept those around us like You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the hope in You that lasts forever and live out our days trusting in the truth. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

Let Love Lead

He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed.” – (Luke 11:28, HCSB)

But Jesus said, “The people who hear the teachings of God and obey it – they are the ones who have God’s blessing.” – (Luke 11:28, ERV)

Jesus commented, “Even more blessed are those who hear God’s Word and guard it with their lives!” – (Luke 11:28, MSG)

The more we know the word of God, the better we know Jesus. Knowing Him is our greatest blessing, for it is in Him and through Him that we experience life and love and peace. For me, the more I understand God’s heart for us, the better I see others through His lens. Patience grows as peace is known. As we continue to draw closer to Easter, may we further seek to hear and understand all that Jesus endured for our sake so that we might have life everlasting in Him. 

Listen to the Lord,

For His words are true;

Examples of love,

That teach what to do.

He shows us the way,

To love people well;

Forgiveness and grace,

His example tells.

Rise up in goodness,

Let Love lead the way;

To give to others,

His kindness and grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to live and love as You intended. Thank You that Your word is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You, or have neglected to do what You ask of us. Show us how to live and love as You created us for. Teach us to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and learn from Your word that instructs us to love as You do. Amen.

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

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Where Hope is Held

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, HCSB)

We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised. – (Hebrews 10:23, ERV)

Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, VOICE)

Hope is a funny thing, for we use the word to talk about what we want to happen or about something we desire; however, true hope is a confident space of waiting for that which has been promised by the One who is faithful forever. This is important for me to remember as our vacation is coming to a close. The day after tomorrow, I will return to work. I know not how spring break has gone for my students and colleagues, but I know Who holds us all in His hands. As much as I “hope” that all goes well, I need to remember that the One who is our hope will be with me, leading, guiding, protecting and providing. I don’t need to know what tomorrow holds to have hope in Him. He is our hope and the One who provides all of our tomorrows. May we hold fast to our hope in Him, for He is forever faithful and worthy of all of our trust.

O Lord of all hope,

To You I will cling;

No matter what comes,

You’re faithful to bring.

Bring goodness and grace,

Your presence and peace;

Trust for each new day,

As love is released.

O God, we rise up,

And trust in Your love;

For we’re in Your hands,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our hope resides in You. Thank You that You hold us and all of our tomorrows in Your loving hands. Thank You that we need not worry about what lies ahead, for You are with us, always. Forgive us for our concerns about things that are yet to come. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to live and love like You, knowing that You are our hope and help, and that You love lavishly and call us to the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all of our hope in You, for You are faithful forever. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a

Show Love

Little children, we must not love with words or speech, but with truth and action. – (1 John 3:18, HCSB)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

Words mean nothing if actions do not align. Our greatest testimony is demonstrating love with our actions. Love meets people where they are at, and helps, encourages, walks alongside, and builds up. Consistently choosing to love again and again is what speaks the most clearly. As we live out a life of love, what we do becomes the story of the goodness of God and the grace that He lavishly gives. May we rise up and seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to live out our days in the pattern of His gracious love.

Lord, lead us in love,

In all that we do;

May ev’ry action,

Show love that is true.

Teach us to live life,

In Your gracious way;

So Your love is shown,

Beyond what we say.

May each decision,

Each choice that we make;

Be aligned with love,

And filled with Your grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to love in truth and action. Thank You that Jesus loved through everything He did – He touched, He provided, He helped and He sacrificed to demonstrate the magnitude of Your love for all. Forgive us for every action that does not show Your love. Teach us to live out each day in truth so that our every action is a tangible demonstration of how deeply and completely You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love those around us in truth and action so that Your heart may be clearly seen. Amen.

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

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. – Romans 12:10

Upheld

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. – (2 Timothy 1:7, HCSB)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

The Spirit of God that dwells within us when we invite God to be Lord of our lives is one of power, love and self-control. With God in us, we need not fear, for He empowers us with strength, love and self-discipline. Right now, there are many situations and circumstances surrounding us that can cause fear, yet God within us is greater. When fear creeps in and anxiety rises, it is God who is able to steady our hearts and soothe our spaces of unrest. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust to be our strength, love and peace of mind, for in Him, we have all that we need to persevere.

For God’s within us,

We need not choose fear;

He helps, upholds us,

Remains ever near.

Lord, help us rise up,

And hold fast to You;

Our anchor of hope,

That’s steady and true.

When fear finds a way,

To make waves, roll in;

Bring peace and Your strength,

Help and hope within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we need not fear, for You provide the help that we need to overcome whatever lies before us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust in You, for You are our Source of power, love and self-discipline. Lead us to love those around us as You do, and keep fear far from us. Show us Your power and love in every space we find ourselves in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give You our fears and receive Your strength, hope and love that bring peace in its place. Amen.

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

God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my life. – Psalm 54:4