Endurance for the Journey, Fear, Featured, Hope

At once the Spirit sent Him out into the desert,
and He was in the desert forty days,
being tempted by Satan.
He was with the wild animals,
and angels attended Him.
MARK 1:12-13 (NIV)

We usually notice the first part of verse 13 – the threatening, dark part: Jesus “was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan.” But the last part of this verse (“He was with the wild animals, and angels attended Him”) can slip by us without notice. In Jesus’s day many wild animals prowled in this land, but God kept Jesus safe by sending angels to guard Him, just as the Israelites had been guarded in the desert by angelic hosts (Exodus 23:20, 23; 32:34).

When we feel alone, vulnerable or endangered, it is comforting to know that spiritual realities exist beyond our immediate experience. Though we may not sense or feel God’s presence, He is with us. One of the ways He is present is through sending angels to “guard us in our ways” (Psalm 91:11,12). So even it you are feeling all alone, don’t count on it – for “the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him: (Psalm 34:7).

Therefore, angels are only servants –
spirits sent to care for people
who will inherit salvation.

On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky


Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Provision

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father;
take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you
since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,

“Then the righteous will answer him,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you something to drink?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth,
whatever you did for one of these
brothers of mine, you did for me.’
MATTHEW 25:34-35, 37, 40 (NIV)

Jesus said that when we meet the needs of our neighbors, we have ministered personally to Him. Hurting people are our neighbors. We can’t give the Lord a drink as He cries out on the cross, “I thirst!” – that opportunity expired a long time ago but we can take a cue from His words in verses Matthew 25:34-40.

We can give someone else a cool beverage. We can respond to the needs we see around us – the need for dinnertime volunteers at a local nursing home, the need for ushers at church, the need for a Big Brother or Sister – and so minister to our Savior. In a very real sense, history can be rewritten – we can still give the Lord that drink. JONI EARECKSON TADA

During this current crisis there are so many needs around us – so many opportunities for us to serve and love our neighbors who are hurting, and in doing so, many ways to still give the Lord that drink …

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and He will reward them for what they have done.

On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky


Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Peace

“I am leaving you with a gift –
peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give
is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

In trying times like these it is hard to conceive that we can ever attain “peace of mind and heart” with all the uncertainties we are experiencing. We so desperately want that “peace” so we are not “troubled or afraid.”

At first, when Dave and I were experiencing our first major affliction which involved the journey through cancer, amputation and debilitating depression, I did not attain the “peace of mind and heart” I so desperately desired. The turning point came about when I came across this writing in a book that was given to me entitled “Let Go” by Francois Fenelon who was a 17th century Archbishop in France:

“We can add to our God-given cross by agitated resistance and an unwillingness to suffer. A cross which comes from God ought to be welcomed without any concern for self. And when you accept your cross this way, even though it is painful, you will find that you can bear it in peace. But when you receive your cross unwillingly, you will find it to be doubly severe. The resistance within is harder to bear than the cross itself! But if you recognize the hand of God and make no opposition to His Will, you will have peace in the midst of affliction.” FRANCOIS FENELON

I learned that I was experiencing what I called “double pain”. I not only had the pain of our affliction but the pain of my resistance and resentment. Once I stopped resisting, let go, accepted our cross and started trusting Him I began to experience “the peace which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

“I have told you all this
so that you may have peace in me.
Here on earth you will have
many trials and sorrows.
But take heart,
I have overcome the world.”

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Peace

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to go on the heights.
HABAKKUK 3:17-19 (NIV)

In our wilderness, Jan and I learned to trust God, even though at times every visible trace of Him had vanished. But we finally came to the point that Habakkuk did when he prayed “Though …” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

Those verses brought us such comfort. We took encouragement in knowing that the wilderness was part of the spiritual landscape trudged by many people whom God has greatly used. This knowledge didn’t take away our pain, but it did give us hope that we were not banished to the desert forever. We believed what God promised to the Israelites was true for us too:

“For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
ISAIAH 43:19 (NLT)

We also found comfort in realizing that Moses spent 40 years in the desert and that God used that time to teach him lessons that would later equip him for mighty exploits. We put our trust and hope in God, that He would do the same for us.

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.

On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky


Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Peace

Answer me when I call to you,
O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.

I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O Lord,
make me dwell in safety.
PSALM 4:1,8 (NIV)

Sleep is one of the first areas affected when we face severe trials. It often flees from us like a wildebeest before a lion, like a scrap of paper before a windstorm. Yet God tells us in Psalm 4 that sleep is possible, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

During our three-year ordeal in the wilderness, circumstances continually went from bad to worse. But while events around me seemed ominous, it gave me hope to know that God promises we can enjoy peaceful sleep – not because our circumstances will change during the night, but because “you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (v. 8).

I still use the quality of my sleep as a litmus test. If my sleep is troubled, I consider that a sign that I am trying to sustain myself rather than trusting God. The remedy? Return to the wisdom of Psalm 4, ask God to relieve my distress, and trust in the Lord. Then “I will lie down and sleep in peace” (v.8).

You can go to bed without fear;
you will lie down and sleep soundly.
You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
for the Lord is your security.
He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.
PROVERBS 3:24-26 (NLT)

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky