How to Fall Sleep Anywhere, or Not – Psalm 4:8

Don’t expect me to fall sleep in public. Before our trip to Zambia I stayed up all night mending clothes and packing, convinced I would have no trouble sleeping on the twelve-hour flight across the Atlantic. But, you guessed it, sleep never came.

On another trip I had the same problem. After flying into Delhi on a Saturday evening and leading worship with my team, we rushed to board the night train for the 250 mile trip to Lucknow. Our plan was to sleep in our clothes (it was a public conveyance, after all), get up and lead worship for the Sunday service the following morning.

Again sleep eluded me. My narrow berth separated me from the aisle by only a thin curtain, and a couple of times I was startled by someone brushing by on their way to the toilet. I resolved that since God brought me on this trip, he would somehow supply my needs as I did his work – with or without sleep.

As I lay in my little space I prayed, admitting I was also concerned about how my hair might look in the morning. I thought about using a little water and a comb, but that would mean me sitting upright while it dried. No, sleep would be better for my appearance and my attitude, I reasoned. You can read about God’s answer to my concerns that night in a previous post.

I peered through my window, still amazed I was actually in India. In the passing shadows I could see tiny dwellings, cooking fires smoldering, and the outline of buildings. Nothing looked familiar.

Then I spotted the moon, looking exactly like it did from my front porch in Oregon. From the moving train, the moon was an anchor point, a brilliant thing to remind me God hadn’t changed and that he was with me even on the opposite side of the world.

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

After talking to God about my trivial concerns, my worries for my safety and my appearance melted away. I laid down and slept peacefully.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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Welcome the Stranger – Leviticus 19:34

We didn’t know anyone in our new community when we moved into our country home. Both my husband and I had lived in Eugene since elementary school, not realizing how deep our roots had grown—or how important they were.

We’d stayed in the same school district for decades, taking part in athletic competitions, after school clubs, community events, and church activities with our neighbors and peers, so it was astonishing when we found ourselves viewed with suspicion by so many.

We were overlooked

I approached the line in front of the neighborhood church with my children in tow, hoping to register them for the week-long Vacation Bible School.

Several glanced my way, sizing me up, but didn’t hold my gaze long. I encouraged and played with my kids, but we stood alone, not included in others’ conversations.

It was a rude awakening, but insightful. They behaved much like I did in the same situation. I place a higher value on relationships now, having a greater appreciation for the friendships I’ve already developed and being more willing to invest in new ones.

Love your neighbor as yourself

“But the stranger who resides with you shall be to you like someone native-born among you; and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34 AMP).

As the sun beat down on the top of my head, I noticed a woman making her way down the line greeting people. She managed to animate the crowd with her friendliness, laughter erupting wherever she stopped. She didn’t bypass me. Instead she introduced herself, asked questions about my family, listened intently.

In the next few weeks our sons became friends at school. I entertained the notion that Friendly Woman was my new best friend exclusively. Then I remembered it appeared she made everyone feel that way.

Let’s not forget how it feels to be unnoticed, or how the kindness of one person can make our day.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Help Comes from God – Psalm 121:1-4

We were sick with the flu last week. Both of us. At the same time.

In one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” books there’s a story about Laura being delirious with fever and her mother spooning drops of water into her mouth. As her disease progressed Laura realized her mother’s care had stopped. When she could manage to lift her head, she saw why; both her parents were sick in bed.

He is near

Laura debated trying to slide onto the floor and crawl to the water bucket for a drink, she was so thirsty. She knew she’d have to take lots of rest stops along the way, maybe even suffer with cold on the hard floor. Thankfully, a neighbor discovered their need and brought help.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:1-4 NIV).

God sends help

Jerry and I are doing much better. Our dear daughter picked up what we needed at the store and made meals for us. However, during the long night when I lay awake wrestling with my sickness, it was the One Who Doesn’t Sleep who stayed with me and sustained my soul. I’m so glad he doesn’t have down time.

Whether he commands an army to cross mountains to defend us, or sends a kind hand to bring soup for our comfort, the Maker of heaven and earth is never far away.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis