Joyful Confidence

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, NIV) 

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV) 

But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, proven character leads us back to hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, TPT) 

This morning, as I made my way in the wee hours of darkness, to go dog walking with a dear friend, I heard these very same verses being spoken on the radio. Both this morning and when I did my devotional reading this evening, I took pause and determined that I have so far to go. The Passions Translation is the one that I can most closely relate to, as it points to the joyful confidence in the midst of struggle, and that something good can come from pressure or pain. When we place our confidence in Christ, even in the mist of struggle, we discover that there is joy in Him. Patient endurance, character and hope, are all part of the beauty that come from our ashes. Right now, what I have spent the last twenty-four years of my life doing, has been flipped upside down and makes me feel like a brand-new teacher all over again. The learning curve required is cumbersome and challenging, yet I know that the more that I patiently persevere, the greater the chance that I will learn and grow. It is in that space of growing, that I find hope again. Hope that I can reach and teach kids, regardless of whether it is online or in person, and hope that one day, I will get to teach in a regular classroom again, face-to-face with my students. God uses our trials and difficulties to grow and refine us. It is always far easier to look back and see what He has done, than it is to recognize that He can work all things together for good in the middle of the messy. May we seek the Lord in our suffering and in our blessings, knowing that He can move mightily in all things, and produce the hope that shows our heart how to endure and overcome. 

No matter what comes, 

May our hearts find joy; 

Not in the heartache, 

But God’s grace employed. 

Beauty from ashes, 

Is what we all need; 

Character building, 

In hope, He will lead. 

May we each rise up, 

In Christ, persevere; 

For He overcomes, 

Always, He is near. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can utilize our every experience and circumstance to produce good in us and through us. Forgive us for our desire to get out of difficult situations the moment they strike. Teach us to trust You more so that we might joyfully embrace You and all that You provide in the midst of our messes. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage patience and perseverance, every pointing to hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to take joy in You in the midst of difficult, as You grow patience, perseverance, character and hope within us Amen. 

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

…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Prayer Over Worry

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:6-7, ERV)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

 

As usual, what is part of my scheduled daily reading, is exactly what I needed to remember this morning. Part of the joy and blessing in our new puppy, is the constant companion who joyfully wants to join me in all things. The thing I have been most excited about, has been to have a dog who can run with us. For the last week, Thor (my sweet puppy), has been joining us on jog/walk/carries on weekday mornings. Two dear dog-owning friends privately messaged me to be careful about how far I take a puppy. I thought I was using caution, as I watched his cues, and picked him up to carry him any time he seemed weary or bored of walking. Sadly, unless I know specifics, I just do what seems best until I learn otherwise. One of the friends happened to send me a link about puppies and how much exercise they need, based on age, and all of the justification as to why. That sent me to research further, only to discover that I now need to pump the brakes on our morning sessions until Thor is quite a bit older. This caused two-fold anxiety in me. One, I felt horrible that I had likely overdone the exercise for my poor puppy for four or five days, and second, I was worried about how I would be able to stand staying seated for all of the hours of work that I need to do each day, without getting out and moving first. My prayer was pretty much, “O God, now what?” I paused, took a deep breath, and decided to call my running buddy. She was extremely gracious, and we determined to get back to afternoon running, as it is when I could recruit my boys to puppy sit. I know this is a small and seemingly insignificant concern, but God cares about our every concern, great and small. May we ever present our cares and concerns to Christ, for He hears, He loves, and He brings everything together for good somehow.

 

We need not worry, wp-1588686616242993864274389575531.jpg

Instead, let us pray;

For Christ hears each cry,

All night and all day.

What concerns our hearts,

He’ll carry with peace;

As we turn to Him,

Our fear is released.

So, lift head and heart,

To Him, give all care;

He’s ever-present,

And everywhere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring all of our concerns, cares and anxieties to You, and You care and bring us Your peace. Thank You that You are always ready and available to hear our prayers. Forgive us for fear and doubt that allow anxiousness a foothold. Teach us to trust You more, for You are faithful and kind and care about our concerns, no matter how small. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your peace an obvious presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? – Luke 12:25