You’ll Never Be Too Old – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Standing in front of the mirror looking into my aging eyes I warned my reflection she is going to die. You might think I’m crazy if I tell you how liberating it is to accept that message.

The day is coming

How many of the billions of this planet’s inhabitants left it without dying first? It’s possible Elijah, who traveled in a heavenly chariot, and Enoch, who “walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24 ESV), went to heaven without dying, but the Bible doesn’t make that clear. However, we do know graves account for more people who left this world through death than by any another way.

What about losing my abilities?

Once we resolve that we’re going to die we can relax and fix our eyes on Jesus. He’s been there, he stole death’s power over us, and he can lead us safely through the “valley of the shadow.”

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV

In an earlier post about my mission trip to Zambia I shared my concerns about losing the ability to serve God in ways I am used to. I wrote that I “wondered how I could be useful if I eventually lost the ability to count pills, or hold sick babies, or bounce along bumpy African roads without crying out in pain.”

What would be the point of living if I can’t “do”?

I concluded, “There can be benefits reaped from experiencing disability. One is that our weakness can give someone an opportunity to practice compassion and service.” My existence can still be a blessing.

In a group text recently my kids, most in their thirties, played with an app that aged their faces to eighty-some years plus. My husband added his photo without the changes, saying “no app needed.” No, he doesn’t really look like he’s eighty. My point is we shouldn’t let thoughts of the mode or timing of our departure get us down, because as the psalmist said, “I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand . . .” (Psalm 31:14-15a ESV).

The eternal vs the temporary

I’ll never be too old to do what he wants me to do. My age, condition and circumstances don’t catch him off guard. He’s God. He knows his plan and it’s all good.

I’ve learned from earlier lessons that we can trust the promises in the Scriptures. We can be content, even if we lose the ability to do what we like, because our lives only contain temporary afflictions. The suffering that clings to us now holds no comparison to what’s coming.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Prayer for Healing in 2018 – James 5:13-16

Don’t laugh if you see me in the pool rolling and turning like a dying goldfish. I’m OK, really. I call this my workout, and it does me a lot of good. Those younger or more athletic probably don’t comprehend how my slow movements qualify as a real workout, but water fitness makes a world of difference to me. When I’m in the water I find myself unburdening my heart, singing, and even dancing as I push against the water.

This week I’ve been reading the book of James, written by one of Jesus’s brothers. Until now I hadn’t seen how confession and other people’s prayers also relate to health.

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be  healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:13-16 NIV).

We know it’s important to pray for the salvation of the world, but what about asking for God’s help with the internal battles—with selfishness, fear, greed, idolatry, arrogance, and bitterness? If we confessed these things, maybe the world would become a better place. Certainly humbling ourselves, being open about our problems, and asking others to pray for our health will facilitate healing.

In a few hours 2017 will come to an end and a new year will start. Let’s sharpen our focus in the months ahead, because when we stand righteous before God, our prayers are powerful.

Happy New Year!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Making a Dramatic Lifestyle Change – Isaiah 43:19-21

When I prepared to leave home after graduating high school, it was like throwing my toothbrush and jacket into a backpack and taking off for the wilderness. Did I really understand what I was doing? I was also concerned I might not like what I found when I reached my destination.

Where am I going?

Living as an independent adult wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

My grandparents had recently moved to a house on Almaden Street, and I entertained the idea of claiming their basement room for myself. It was damp and musty, empty but for two box crates stacked in the corner. I arranged them under the tiny window, planning to decorate them with dandelions in a tin can.

At some point I’d put a mattress on the floor. I could live without furniture, for a while anyway. I would eat brown rice and split peas . . . and well, I could get along without lots of things.

It sounded like a great idea, “roughing it,” spending time alone with God and not having to put up with other people and their problems.

My fantasy lasted about 7 hours.

When I came to my senses I marked out a different path. Living and caring only for myself wasn’t going to be good. I recognized my true life goal is to follow Jesus where he leads—to sacrificial love for others.

A way in the wilderness

I recently found myself taking an unexpected turn on my path, which involves working to improve my health. After a physical exam I read several books to compare professional opinions. I’ve been eating a whole foods, plant-based diet now for one year and ten days, and I’m thankful to say it’s helping me manage arthritis pain without prescription drugs.

“I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise” (Isaiah 43:19b-21 ESV).

Whatever comes on our life’s path, we can trust him to make a way.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis