Our Refuge and Strength

I needed to take a break from writing in January, but I certainly meant to be back long before this, however, other things came along. One of those things was becoming ill with coronavirus. I think it was probably the Omicron variation because it so mild for me—I’ve certainly been a lot sicker at other times in my life—but it was lengthy. It lasted about 10 days, and then it took about another 10 days to start feeling normal.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, my daughter half-jokingly asked me if it was time to freak out. I told her no, we get overwhelmed and scared, and we each have our own struggles, but go back to God’s Word. He will not forsake us.

2 Corinthians, 1 Peter, and Habakkuk are all excellent books to turn to when we suffer, when we’re afraid, when we’re scared about the future.

Start with 1 Peter and read it through. Never forget we have a living hope. It’s real, despite how we feel momentarily, because our hope rests in the Lord Jesus.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9

An inheritance reserved in heaven—
Protected by the power of God—
Our faith more precious than gold—
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, believe in Him—
Rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory—
Obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.—

2 Corinthians is another letter about suffering.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
2 Corinthians 4:7-9
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me⁠—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Habakkuk is only three chapters long. I wrote Habakkuk: The Day of Distress & Hind’s Feet on this short book, and Habakkuk’s moving trust in God in his day of distress. I find Lamentations 3 always good to turn to. My post, Lamentations: Desolation & Hope, focuses on this chapter. In it I talk about the difference between remember and recall. In despondency Jeremiah remembers the horrible things he has known and seen, but then as he recalls who God is, he has hope. (If these older posts look a little off, it’s because I haven’t cleaned up the formatting to match the new site theme).

My earthen vessel is pretty cracked and chipped, yours may be as well, but that’s not the point; the point is not our strength, which is weak, fragile, and tends to shatter, the point is Jesus, whose strength never fails, and whose power shines through in our weakness.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
Psalm 57:1–2

God is our refuge, our strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear.

Waves crashing over The North Pier, Tynemouth: FreeFoto.com (Site has been deleted).
Clay jars Nesebar: Fjmustak. (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Copyright ©2022 Iwana Carpenter

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