Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. 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

A Plan and a Purpose

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – (Luke 11:9, NIV) 

So I tell you, continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you.” – (Luke 11:9, ERV) 

So listen: Keep on asking, and you will receive. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you.” – (Luke 11:9, VOICE) 

On this day, the day that the last fifteen years of schooling have prepared my children for, this seems an appropriate reminder of what matters, as they prepare for the next leg of their journey. Luke reminds us where our priorities ought to lie in our pursuit of next steps, and how important perseverance truly is. Keep seeking, asking, searching and knocking, even when the road is rough and it seems as there is no way to keep moving forward. He is present and able to help, and He hears, sees, knows and honors every move we make in pursuit of His best for what lies ahead.  

For my own son, Lucas, whose name is derived from Luke, my reminder to you who has fought and overcome the challenges associated with dyslexia to become a bright and talented writer, a critical thinker, and a young man who is ready to pursue his dreams as you graduate with honors, it seems only fitting to remind you of the words that Jesus said. Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” – (Luke 18:27) You have been a living example of the power of God working to make impossibilities possible. Keep trusting, seeking, asking and knocking, for He has great things in store for you. 

Micah, my youngest son, (by one minute), you too, are biblically named. Despite obstacles, heartache, frustration and fears, you have risen up and become a man of integrity, who loves deeply, acts justly and is humble and kind. For you, always remember who you are, and stay true to the man you have been called to be. He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8) As you seek the Lord for each next step, He will indeed show you what is good and what He requires of you to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him.  

On this special day, 

Please never forget; 

The hope that is found, 

Purposeful mindset. 

Ever keep seeking, 

Pursuing God’s best; 

Asking and knocking, 

He’ll show you the rest. 

A plan and purpose, 

The Lord has for you; 

A future that’s good, 

So, listen, pursue. 

Keep asking of Him, 

What He has for you; 

Then step out in faith, 

As your dreams come true. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to seek, ask, and keep knocking, as You have created each of us to faithfully persevere in pursuit of all that You have for us. Thank You that Your promises are good, and You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when things seem impossible. Teach us to remember that all things are possible in You. Show us how to encourage, trust, seek, pursue and lift up those around us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the accomplishments of all of our graduates, and support and encourage each in the next chapter of their stories. Amen. 

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

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13