The Blessings of Strength and Peace

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NIV)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

I have experienced this so much over the last few days. For each surgery, God gave me the strength that I needed, and His peace was present. Yesterday, as I had reconstructive surgery on my lip where the cancer had been removed the day prior, I was at total peace as I was checked in and prepped for the process. Again, the procedure took less time than anticipated, and the pain has been tolerable. This morning, though I woke far earlier than planned, I felt good and was glad to be up when one of my kiddos wandered up the stairs not feeling great. Being able to offer advice, comfort and company is still a blessing, even when your kids are adults. It seems that the same sort of peace that I received, is now being passed on to my son as he is resting on the couch with me and the pups. God is good, and He is faithful to supply the strength we need and will be our peace whenever we call on His Name. As we move into this weekend of celebrating Christ, who came to us as a baby, grew into a man, and showed us God in the flesh as He lived, loved, and gave His life for us, only to rise again to sit at the right hand of the Father and constantly contend for us all, may we prioritize give Him praise for His forever faithful ways.

God is our comfort,

Faithful place of peace;

Strength when we’re weary,

All goodness released.

O Lord, we praise You,

For all that You are;

The Light of the world,

For all near and far.

When we’re uncertain,

Of what lies ahead;

The Lord will guide us,

In His strength we’re led.

Praise to You, Father,

And praise to the Son;

And to the Spirit,

Godhead, three-in-One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our Provider of peace. Thank You that You are loving and kind and faithful. Thank You that You are our Healer too. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we face unknowns. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and promote peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as receive Your strength and peace with gladness and give You all the glory because You are so good. Amen.

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

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

Bloom Under Pressure

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. – (James 1:2-3, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. – (James 1:2-3, ERV)

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. – (James 1:2-3, VOICE)

I most appreciate the Voice translation of this particular passage, as it is far easier to relate to finding joy in the midst of our trials, rather than considering them joy. The older I get, the more I both witness and experience this truth. Between the progression of aging in both us and our parents, the frequency of trials and health challenges in our lives and those of dear family and friends around us seem to be on the rise. What I continue to witness is faith rising up, and joy found in the midst of unpleasant circumstances as patience and endurance are provided. God is faithful to meet us every step we take, be it through the deepest valleys or on the highest peaks. One of the greatest things that I am continuing to learn is that God provides people that lighten our loads – be it physically, emotionally, or financially in the center of our storms. Throughout the early days and weeks following my mom’s stroke, people sent notes, called, encouraged and lifted up, which strengthened us and brought joy in the midst of the fearful unknown. On Thursday, I was supposed to have a consultation with a surgeon about a procedure to remove cancerous cells from my upper lip. The appointment turned into a bigger biopsy than I had previously had, and resulted in a couple of stitches, with further surgery still looming ahead. Incredibly, I feel total peace about the ultimate outcome of all this. My trepidation lies in the process. Even with the unanticipated procedure, God provided a kind staff that blended humor and compassion perfectly for me. Despite the unpleasantness of the process, their demeanor set my heart at ease and I left the appointment with much gratitude for those charged with my care. Additionally, I had a conversation with a colleague and friend whose father had undergone something similar to what is in store for me, and she was able to share great encouragement as he had minimal scarring and complete success. God is good and He uses our circumstances to grow and encourage us as He strengthens us with His overwhelming love. May you be encouraged by His goodness and kindness, even in the midst of challenges, today and always.

In heartache and joy,

Challenges and peace;

The Lord is near us,

And strength He’ll increase.

Through each new trial,

Faith He will increase;

As we choose to trust,

His power’s released.

In the dark spaces,

Keep seeking His light;

Endurance will bloom,

To joy and delight.

Delight in moments,

Where His love is clear;

Trust in the process,

God is always near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You use our trials and challenges to grow us in strength and endurance. Thank You that You provide joy, even in the most difficult circumstances. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations in the midst of the unexpected trials that we face. Teach us how to lean into You for strength and endurance as we navigate whatever comes our way. Show us how to encourage and support those around us well, so that they may see tangible evidence of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength in the struggles, and praise You for Your provision of joy despite our circumstances. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7