. . . protected . . .

Tears splashed my face as the words of Even If . . . washed over my heart at a funeral this past Sunday. What a testimony in song at the memorial service for Cheryl. Our church had witnessed a four-year graceful cancer battle fought by this soft, gentle young lady in our midst. Her faith had never wavered; she knew God could, but if He didn’t—- well, it would be okay . . . (if you haven’t heard these words, click here for the song and the story behind it . . . )  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHosmHnOrb8)

But can He save us from the fire, from the storms of life we find ourselves NOW? Will He? Do we trust Him . . . Even If. . .? Often there is someone who walks the journey with us, protecting, guiding, leading by example.

Years ago, I heard the expression, “a velvet covered brick”.  A book on Christian leadership, published in 1973, used this phrase. I didn’t read the book, but immediately, it became my definition of Tom Suiter. Picture that—a hard brick—secure, strong, covered by softness.

For fifty five years, this man has protected me, has corrected me in firmness, has shaped me. Now, as we are walking through the greatest crises of our lives, I notice the soft covering has grown thicker, while at the core he is more secure, solid. I love the definition of a covering. . . “something laid over or wrapped around a thing, especially for concealment, protection, or warmth.”

As he is covered, so Tom protects me. His covering is his faith, his life message. Years ago, he chose Psalm 71:18 as his life verse— “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare Your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come.”DSC_0115

So this Friday, June 14, I will celebrate this strong force of protection. I cannot imagine that he has lived three quarters of a century—and most of that with me 🙂  I wanted to use this blog to honor Tom on his 75th birthday.  He continues to show me daily how to stand firm on The Rock.

How do I continue when I am afraid of the darkness. When there is no answer. When there is no hope of restoration of the losses within the family. When the break is unmendable. . .

My brick stands firm and strong—protecting me even against myself, ever wrapping me with gentleness and tenderness. Normally a brick would sink into the deep abyss, buried below layers of pain and heartache, but this one. . .  my physical covering, keeps afloat . . pushing me to the source of his strength.  .  .

I listen to the song again—Even If . . .

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

I will confess my faith has been tested, almost shattered; yet, Tom holds me tenaciously so I will not sink. And I ask, would I stand firm without him. I want to believe that I would, that I can. There are promises in Scripture that I –that you— are covered, that we are protected. “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.” Psalm 5: 11. What about Psalm 91:4? “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge. . . ”

Faintly comes a whisper; it came to me again in the night: “I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down or relax my hold on you. Assuredly not.” Hebrews 13: 5b, Amplified Bible.

May we each find assurance that Even If . . . whatever happens . . . when there is no answer. . . we are held, supported, protected . . . in the only possible Hope. . .





About oct17

The little girl in me loves bird watching, butterflies, sunrises, sunsets, walks in the rain; the adult I am enjoys the same. I sense God's awesomeness in all of life--what wonder there is in slicing a leek or cutting open a pomegranate. I have many favorite things--a formation of Canadian geese flying overhead, the giggles of my grand daughters, the first ripe watermelon in summer, snowflakes on my face--these gifts from my heavenly Father delight me continually.
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14 Responses to . . . protected . . .

  1. Glenda says:

    You always bless me and again this time also. Sam and Tom’s birthday years so close can’t help but believe they are in or near to the same molds. We are so blessed by these men God brought into our lives making us the wives, mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers we are in our world today. May we live up to the women of faith we need to be for those women we come in contact with on a daily basis. My love to you and Tom and may God give him one of many more wonderful birthdays in the years ahead


  2. Mary Jo Buenfil says:

    Why a beautiful piece. Very inspiring.


  3. Mary Jo Buenfil says:

    I meant to say What a beautiful piece.


  4. Judy cox says:

    What a blessing you two are to so many people. You inspire me just my watching your content peaceful face on Sunday you make me want to be a better woman keep on letting the Lord bless others through you. We love you and Tom so much and appreciate all the hours that are spent serving all of us through our Lord


  5. Terrie says:

    What an encouragement! Thank you, Barb, for putting into words feelings that are so difficult to express.


  6. Gerry Frazier says:

    Don’t know if we had formed Anne’s Sisters before you left ISBC, but in the years of following these dear cancer patients, I have learned so very much, so many stories that have enriched my life and faith. And now God has gifted us with a young minister who had been diabetic since age 11. It in no way holds him back from what God has called him to do.. and it can’t be easy. He is a living testimony that God is greater than cancer, diabetes, whatever. I thank God that all these wonderful people have brushed shoulders with me.


    • oct17 says:

      Thank you, Gerry. I have heard often from the group Anne’s Sisters. What a sweet ministry that is. iDd you listen to the story of MercyMe. His son has diabetes and I think that is what initiated the song. Oh how we lean on and lean in with others.


  7. Diane Eldridge says:

    So well said precious words and honor and respect for ur husband sure enjoyed the read..what a neat way to look at Tattoos..


    • oct17 says:

      Thank you, Diane. If you click follow, and leave your email address and jump those couple of hoops there, you will receive an email when I post.


  8. Karen says:

    I always appreciate your thoughts, Barb.


  9. Dianna Walker says:

    Barbara, this is just so beautiful. Thank you.


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