Will God Answer all our Questions? – Exodus 4:10-12

Have you heard someone say that they’d like to ask God a few questions? Like why he allows war, children being traumatized, cities burning, or Alzheimer’s?

Let’s say I’m 90 when I die. I enter heaven with a pencil stuck behind my ear, gripping my cane. In my other hand is a long checklist. I shuffle toward the throne of grace ready to get some answers.

No, that doesn’t work. Let’s get rid of the cane because the book of Revelation says God makes all things new.

So I drop the cane and stroll toward God on new strong, confident legs. I mentally cross off two of my questions but there are more. Yes, I realize I’m no longer 90, but I want to understand a few things about my time on earth anyway.

Then it hits me that I’m also not dead.

I have to stop here. Being not dead is more than I can handle, especially when I look up to see my Lord and my God reaching toward my cheeks to rub the tears off. And I can’t explain the tears because the list in my hands is distracting me.

No, that can’t be right. By this point the list would be soaked by my weeping and I wouldn’t care.

I’ve been studying the book of Exodus this month, and it has made me wonder where the idea that God must account for himself came from. He is God and he’s got a lot more going on in his mind than I could comprehend. And he doesn’t have to say anything.

No one’s going to be marching up to his throne for explanations.

When God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him to set the Hebrews free, Moses didn’t like God’s plan. He wanted the assignment to go to someone else. What follows is an example of God choosing to respond directly.

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak” (Exodus 4:10-12 ESV).

[There are two things that stand out in your story, Moses. First, if you are slow of speech and tongue, God is already aware of it. He made your mouth so he knows if your slowness is by his design or if you’re stalling. Second, he’s with you. You’ll be fine.]

Here’s another scenario about asking God questions.

Instead of toting a list to God in heaven I imagine myself a hungry teen crossing the threshold into the kitchen hollering what’s for dinner Mom. Her tiny kitchen changes to a high school gym-sized banquet hall with dozens of tables loaded with beautiful, delicious foods of all kinds, (I’m vegan but you can imagine all kinds of meats if you want) fruits, vegetables, desserts. Not all cheap stuff, either. I stall, leaning against the doorpost. Am I going to say hey, Mom, what’s for dinner? No. With a spread like this I’m confident there’s no need to ask.

Let’s eat!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Stay the Course, Telling the Heart of the Story – 1 Kings 13:15-32

What should I do if someone disagrees with the path I’ve chosen? I know what God wants me to do: Love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, strength, and love my neighbor as myself. One way I express this love is in my writing. Love is his command, writing is my response. But what if a person I trust directs me a different way?

While reading 1 Kings 13 this week I contemplated the part that two prophets played in the story. One, a man of God from Judah, and the other an older prophet. The older prophet disputed what God told the man of God to do. He lied, claiming God told him to instruct the man of God to change his course. The man of God believed the lie and disobeyed God’s command, which led to his death.

Isn’t the older prophet responsible?

What bothers me is that the older prophet’s part in the man of God’s downfall isn’t addressed. Not one word–even though the older prophet confronts the sin that he enabled. Did he carry no guilt for his part in his fellow prophet’s downfall?

I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know whatever God does is just. I can certainly trust him.

Sticking with my story

My takeaway is that I need to stay on course. The writer of 1 Kings 13 focused on the man of God’s path, not the old prophet’s. If there’s another story to tell, it will come in a different chapter, from another writer, or at another time.

I’m to plow ahead in obedience, even if someone more experienced attempts to direct my path differently. Managing my response to the distraction of dissenting voices is a huge part of living. It’s good to listen to the opinions of those we trust, but I need to be careful to only let God change my course.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Just Keep Swimming – Colossians 2:6-10

There’s a lot of meaning in what the forgetful little fish, Dory, says. In the Disney movie, Finding Nemo, she pulls her friend along by encouraging him to not worry so much and “just keep swimming.”

What helps you when you’re stuck in an “I don’t know what to do” place?

It seems I’m there more often than not. When I’m suffering, concerned about the future, worried about my family–just basically carrying the weight of living in this world, how can I renew my hope that things will get better?

That’s when it’s time to press on in him.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority” (Colossians 2:6-10 NIV).

To break it down:

  1. Receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
  2. Continue to live in him.
  3. Be rooted, built up, strengthened, and overflowing with gratitude.
  4. Guard myself against ways of thinking that promote dependence on anything or anyone other than Christ. He carries all that God is, and in him I find all I need.

Unlike Dory, who doesn’t know where she’s going, I have a promised destination. And I know I can’t go wrong when I’m directing my thoughts to him, moving towards him instead of away. More than floundering in a vast ocean, I’m traveling with the One, as my grandchildren say, is Boss of Everything.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

An Oregon Hike and Making New Friends – John 15:9-12

I raced ahead, hopping over tree roots and dancing at the end of the path. Sahalie Falls, one of our favorite destinations on hot summer days, sprayed my face with its cool mist as I waited for my family. Soon my brother, sister and Mom caught up. Dad followed with my baby sister on his shoulders.

Jerry.Kathy.Sahalie Falls.5-2018

Last weekend Mom and Dad, now in their eighties, stayed home. And this time I took my turn bringing up the rear.

It was great to make new friends with international students and watch their exuberance in an Oregon forest. Jerry bonded with the younger guys, and I engaged with the girl gang as we made dozens of stops to pose for photos, admire the wild dogwood trees, and swirl our hands in the icy water.

Thanks to several long-term lifestyle changes and encouragement from medical professionals I pushed my legs to work like they haven’t been able to for a while. One of the students, Anna, stayed by my side the whole time to help me on tough stretches and insist I rest. She treated me as an honored mother, oh so kindly.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:9-12 NIV).

I attempted the hike to strengthen my legs and to learn more about people from other parts of the world. The kindness and respect I received as an older, weaker-but-getting-stronger person, however, was priceless.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Multiplying blessings – Psalm 103:1-5

I’m slowly being buried in blessings I don’t want, mostly because of my daughter’s wedding.

Frank & Amy Barbera

Amy moved home to save her rent money for wedding preparations last year. Within weeks boxes from Amazon began piling up by our front door. It felt like Christmas, only instead of celebrating the coming of a Savior we anticipated the emergence of the newest branch in our family tree.

Frank joined our family in May, a true blessing.

While Amy was here I started finding clothing and bridal catalogs in the mailbox. After the wedding I ordered some items myself, and that’s when the floodgates opened.

Tuesday seven catalogs assaulted my home in one day. Most of them filled with “blessings” I have no use for.

And the subscriptions keep multiplying.

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5 NIV).

Here are blessings I need, desire, and should never forget.

  • forgiveness
  • healing
  • redemption
  • love
  • compassion
  • satisfaction
  • renewal

Until I figure out how to stop adding junk mail to the landfill, I’ll use it to remind me of God’s greater blessings in my life.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis