GOD OUR REFUGE
God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
The silence echoed throughout the house as I felt the aloneness that I had known would be coming. My husband was in post-surgery recovery at our oldest son’s home, and our daughter had finally agreed with my urging that I would be fine to stay alone for a few days so that she could go home to her house. The temptation to succumb to worry suddenly felt like I might be suffocated, but I heard a question flowing through my heart: “Could I find God’s upholding strength here in this place of added trials?”
UNDERSTANDING MY WEAKNESSES
As I pondered the meaning of the word “uphold,” I wondered about its synonyms: refuge, support, sustain, carry. What do these words all have in common? Aren’t they words that speak about something that is weak, something that is small, something that needs to be held and helped?
There are so many times in this journey with chronic illness when we are left facing the depth of our smallness — and sometimes we feel guilty that we are unable to support ourselves. We might even embrace the temptation to fight against that weakness and try to be the strong one who can overcome any obstacle.
When the doctors pronounced the terminal illness diagnosis of Cardiac Amyloidosis over my husband (the one who had been my strong support throughout all of my own chronic illness journey), I felt like my world was about to crumble. How would we be able to get through the days ahead?
What could we do when our last bits of strength had given way and there was no fight left within us?
GOD OUR REFUGE: HIS ANSWER FOR OUR WEAKNESS
Our Lord tells us in His Word that HE will hold us and he will sustain us. Even to our old age and grey hairs, he is longing to lift us up and bring the true refuge we so desperately need. He will hold every prayer that we lift to him.
We surely felt the weight of our old age and gray hairs on those days of difficult diagnoses and hard symptoms. Perhaps you can relate?
But regardless of our age, when chronic illness throws us a curveball, God is right there to meet us in our weaknesses. Truthfully, we found a new level of refuge and strength from the Lord as my husband went forward with the many tests and procedures required of him.
GOD OUR REFUGE: SURPRISING AND UPHOLDING STRENGTH
God surprised us with unexpected technicians sent specifically to guide my husband when I was unable to be with him. Our dear adult children stepped up to give us extra care. Lonely prayers spoken in the middle of dark nights were answered with peace and comfort that only our Lord could provide, as he sent messages and texts from friends, new and old, across the miles at just the right moment. God truly became our upholding tower and support, even in this uncharted territory.
So, on that lonely night when the temptations felt too strong to resist, the Lord lifted me closer to his refuge of support than I thought possible.
AN INVITATION TO JOIN IN PRAYER
Would you join us this month as we pray through these four Scriptures and Prayers? As we pause with these prayer prompts, we can hear the whisper of our God, calling us to find refuge in his upholding strength.
Questions for Reflection
- In what ways have you found yourself feeling small and weak in your chronic illness journey?
- Which words come to your mind as you contemplate your need for upholding strength?
- Can you journal a prayer to God asking for his refuge and strength today?
- Is there a loved one who needs your encouragement and prayers to find God’s refuge and strength?
Would you join us as we pray together, lifting our burdens to the Lord?
Your Word tells us that
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
We cling to your promises for us. Thank you that we can cry out to you in a moment, and know that you are ever-present to bring us help. We are asking for those we care about today, for those who are hurting. Would you be their strength and refuge in the midst of the storms they are facing? We have known your help in trouble–please remind us again how faithful You have been in the past. Help us to trust that you will be faithful today too.
In the name of your son, Jesus, we pray,
May we lift up our prayers to you, even as King Solomon spoke his requests:
And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need. (1 Kings 8:59)
Thank you that you see the needs that we carry each day. Help us to trust you for provision. Thank you that you alone can uphold the cause of your servants. Help us to long for your justice to be seen. Thank you that day and night you hear the words we bring before you. Help us to come near to you in our neediness. We are humbled and grateful that your Word still holds true for us today.
In the name of your son, Jesus, we pray,
Thank you that you see the weakness that we feel, and you are aware of the anxieties that overwhelm our hearts:
When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. (Psalm 94:18-19)
Oh, Father, thank you that you hear our cries, and you send your unfailing love to support our stumbling feet. Thank you that you don’t leave us in our fears and anxieties, but you bring us your own consolations. So, Lord, we lift up those we love today, and ask for your consolation to cover their anxieties also. We pray for those who feel that they cannot take another step without stumbling. May your unfailing love support them even now. Our praises rise to you as we rest in your deep heart of love.
In the name of Jesus we pray,
Thank you for the plans that you have spoken over us:
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4)
We praise you for creating us and for carrying us from birth. Thank you that only you truly sustain and rescue us. Help us today in these places where we are weak and feel the weight of our years creeping up on us. Help our loved ones who are struggling to see your sustaining and rescuing in their lives. Will you carry them even as we ask you to carry us? We love you, our dear rescuer.
In the name of Jesus we pray,
Chronic Joy Contributing Writer
You can find Bettie blogging from her home in the far north suburbs of Chicago at bettiegsraseasons.com. She is walking forward with Jesus in the middle of her pain and weakness from multiple chronic illnesses. The beauty of nature as well as her family (including nine young grandchildren) are Bettie's joys. She and her husband have been married for over 40 years and take great delight in their weekend coffee breaks together.
Chronic Joy® devotionals are an invitation to take one gentle step, to pray in a comforting and familiar or perhaps new-to-you way, or to cry out on behalf of one precious life today … maybe even yours.
You're invited to the Prayer Pond, your safe harbor. This is where you can share your prayer requests, updates, and shouts of praise. Whether a request, praise, lament, suffering, loss, hope, grief, or joy, each prayer ripples far beyond this day and the boundaries of our world. #PrayItForward by praying for others.