Welcome to the November 2020 edition of Ezer Equipped!
Well, here we are—November 2020. Last month, we talked about holding fast to God in times of suffering and uncertainty. This month, we want to talk about what it means to be held by God.
I recently read a quote that said, “We do theology in the light so that we can stand on it in the dark.” I know I have felt the darkness closing in on me lately. So much of life is uncertain right now. It feels a little like free falling—wondering if or when the parachute will catch you and place you safely on the ground below.
Trusting the parachute to do what it’s designed to do enables you to relax and take in the scenery. The same is true for us as believers. This season has revealed how little control we have in life and how fragile everything is. When we trust God to be God and to do what he says he will do in his Word, we can approach this season with a posture of curiosity and anticipation rather than suspicion and fear. We can take in the scenery and see what God may have for us in it. And we can relax—trusting that we are held firmly in his faithful grip, even if it feels like we are in a never-ending free fall.
Being held by God isn’t about sentiment and emotion. It isn’t a soft, warm fuzzy feeling; it is a deep, soulful rest in the midst of grief, anxiety, fear, and uncertainty that comes only through surrender and entrusting yourself to God. But it’s hard to surrender to someone you don’t know or trust. If we want to experience being held securely by God, we can’t rely on feel-good quotes delivered in tweets or pretty graphics. They may offer temporary relief or comfort, but ultimately, they aren’t substantive enough to sustain us in moments of crisis or anxiety. We must become deeply rooted in God’s Word, which is the revelation of his unchanging character and his posture toward his children. So this month, we want to point you to the sure and steadying truth of God’s power, protection, presence, provision, and promises through his Word.
The call to be deeply rooted to God’s Word can feel overwhelming in an already overwhelming season. But take heart! God knows we are fragile, weak, and vulnerable; he remembers we are dust (Psalm 103:14). Our only assurance is not in our holding fast to him, but in knowing that he is holding fast to us. As a follower of Christ, you are called by God, loved by the Father, and kept by Christ (Jude 1:1). The sustaining power of the gospel is encompassed in these three simple words: Called. Loved. Kept.
I know this season has been hard. I know you are weary. I know there are times you feel weak. So let these truths about God breathe life into you: You are held by God’s power, which means you are free to be weak. You are held by God’s protection, which means you need not fear your circumstances. You are held by God’s presence, which means you can find comfort in his nearness. You are held by God’s provision, which means you can cease striving. And you are held by God’s promises, which means you can entrust yourself to him in his never-ending faithfulness.
You are called. You are loved. You are kept. Be held by that truth.
“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.” Jude 1:24-25
Grace Church Women’s Discipleship Advisor
The Psalms have been a source of comfort for generations of believers. The psalmists often express joy mingled with sorrow, anger interrupted by praise, lament followed by declarations of God’s faithfulness. They give us permission to approach the Lord with integrity of heart and to seek the comfort and hope he holds out to us. In the midst of this season, how do we acknowledge the hard things while also being held by the truth of who God is? During this month, we encourage you to read one of these Psalms each week and use these questions to guide your time of reflection.
- What specific comfort do you receive from these verses?
- What do you learn about the power, provision, protection, presence, or promises of God?
- How can these truths help you endure a prolonged season of disappointment and disruption?
The Lord is actively, inescapably present in our lives.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
Ps. 139:9-10 NIV
The Lord graciously and tenderly provides for his sheep.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
The Lord fulfills his promises.
The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
The Lord powerfully rules from above.
But the Lord watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love.
He rescues them from death
and keeps them alive in times of famine.
The Lord protects those who belong to him.
The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
We asked five women to answer three questions in light of this season. What has been hard in this season? How have you held fast to Christ? How have you experienced Christ holding you?
Journeywomen Podcast with Shar Walker
Seasons of uncertainty are difficult to navigate. This episode of the Journeywoman podcast explores what we learn about ourselves and about God during these seasons. Our hope in the midst of these transitions is that God holds and keeps us secure.
“When big changes like this happen, it feels like we get put into a pressure cooker, and stress and anxiety and fear start to press in. What comes out, what oozes out, is stuff that was already there but may not have been revealed as quickly had this situation not happened . . . It reveals things that we have already been wrestling with.”
We encourage you to use these conversation starters as a means of self-reflection and for discussion within your community.
- Ask a friend to join you in reading one of the Psalms each week and answer the reflection questions together in person or over text.
- The women in the video responded to three questions, How would you answer these? Invite other women in your community to do the same.What has been hard in this season? How have you held fast to Christ? How have you experienced Christ holding you?
- We asked a friend who struggled with chronic anxiety to share how she experienced Christ holding on to her in a difficult season. Print out her story and use the reflection questions provided to discuss with friends or those in your biblical community.
Scripture warns us to not just be hearers of the word but to be doers of it as well. All of life is repentance. What is a believable next step God is calling you to take in response to all you’ve learned?
- Memorize a scripture passage. Choose one of the Psalms above or one of your own. Write this Scripture down as many times as you can during the month of November.
- There is a beautifully complex connection between joy and sorrow. We encourage you to explore that over this month through two resources. First, this Journeywoman podcast explores joy and sorrow and how both are important in our faith. Second, we created a new resource for you. The Gratitude and Lament Journal helps us implement the spiritual disciplines of both gratitude and lament as a practical means of both holding fast and being held. There are two ways you can use this journal. 1) Print out the guide and use your own notebook or 2) pick up a journal at the welcome desk of your campus or at the Pelham campus office during the month of November.
- Last month, we linked to a Spotify playlist called Ezer: Hold Fast. These songs were specifically picked to remind us of the strength and faithfulness of God that we may hold fast to him and experience being held by him. It’s been on repeat for several of us over this last month, and we hope you find it to be a source of strength and hope.
She Reads Truth Study Book
by Elyse Fitzpatrick
30 daily readings to remind you who you are in Christ and how his work transforms you.
by Paul David Tripp
365 readings to strengthen your faith and encourage daily dependence on Christ.