A Snapshot of Gratefulness – Philippians 4:6-7

I played outside with my family this week. My husband, sons, and grandson shot basketballs in a game of PIG while two other grandchildren sped by on their bikes, launching themselves off the ramp. The youngest sat in the grass.

A couple of times I stopped the ball from escaping, kicking it back into the game. I also offered a lot of verbal support, withdrawing from the ruckus since my chronic pain insists I live more gently. That’s when I remembered that the day our third son, Seth, was born, we thought he might never play with the family.

There’d been concerns during labor. A specialist was called in. Jerry held my hand as I clung to peace by quoting from Psalm 121 between contractions.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth . . . The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life” (Psalm 121:1-2 and 7 ESV).

The hospital tests hadn’t provided answers. One concern was his color, which they described as ashen. He was lethargic. They decided to keep him another day for observation, and I went home with an empty baby carrier. I imagined all sorts of devastating news I might hear the next day–he had a disease, a birth defect, or he was dying.

We left him overnight but decided that was enough. Seth needed to know his family surrounded him and loved him. His two older brothers needed to pat his head and whisper their secrets. He belonged at home.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV).

Now he plays with his nephews in the street, the tall, strong father of a teenager. He’s home. No wonder I rejoice in the Lord who heard my prayers and answered them in ways more beautiful than I could imagine.

These times are precious. We don’t know the length of our days, but He Who Watches Over Us keeps us. As we move toward the end of our days let’s remember to be ever thankful for God’s kindness to us. That he heard our prayers, that he hears us still, and he will see us home.

The completeness, the joy I can’t contain, the certainty of God’s promises – can you even imagine the awesomeness of standing near my son as he shoots baskets with his dad, his brother, and his nephews, when so close is the memory of the time we didn’t know if we’d get to see him grow up?

It’s only a breath of time, me standing with the life of my family swirling around me. For this moment I am grateful.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

My Temporary Life – Psalm 39

During this end-of-harvest time and these days when many celebrate Halloween, I see reminders of how short our time on earth is. Life as we know it now will not stay the same.

“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am” (Psalm 39:4 ESV).

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“Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath. Selah” (verse 5).

“Surely a man goes about as a shadow. Surely for nothing they are in turmoil. Man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather” (verse 6).

An angry and embarrassed pre-teen, I hid the tears rolling down my face when headlights approached my position at the side of the dusty road. A long line of cousins and friends with their families who had shared the most marvelous adventures during the week of Camp Meeting were now abandoning me. I’d never felt so alive and joyful as I had just hours before, and I was sure this was what heaven would be like. But now it was over. 

I can “heap up wealth,” collecting things or people or events that bring me pleasure, but it may all be for nothing. This life as I know it, is not the heaven I yearn for. This life must come to an end, but the psalmist reminds me in verse 7 where to put my hope.

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you” (verse 7).

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

It Hurts, but I will Praise Him – Psalm 30

My family experienced the death of a dear lady this past week, and I cannot prevent my attention from riveting onto the themes of sadness and mourning in Psalm 30. Once again, though we were assured of our preparedness, and we understand it must be, our hearts are aching at her passing.

But notice both these parts of chapter 30 involve the choice, the act of the will, to offer praise and thanksgiving.

“Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30: 4-5 ESV).

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever” (verses 11-12).

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Sorrow and pain is temporary. Life as we know it in the flesh now is also temporary. But trusting him and being held by his loving hand is eternal.  Isn’t it interesting that the psalmist says God loosed his mourning clothing and dressed him with gladness? God gave him that gift. That’s why we can sing praises, give thanks, and not be silent. And we can dance.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Love Hidden has Little Value – Proverbs 27

Which is better, to be corrected when I’m wrong or to be loved by someone who hides it from me? Well, normally I would have said that love is better than anything. Perhaps this proverb is telling me that correcting a friend’s error is a truer demonstration of love.

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” Proverbs 27:5 NIV

This proverb requires me to think a little more than I normally do about a verse. To me “never satisfied” means that as long as there is death, or as long as there is destruction, it will always want more. And humans always long for more.

“Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man.” 26:20

I attended a memorial service a few hours ago and I agree, I want more. One more day to see a sunrise, one more flower to smell, one more relationship to mend, one more task to complete. These aren’t quite the same as death and destruction but I think the principle holds. Until I admit that my life is finished, I will always want more.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis