Understanding a Woman’s Mind – 2 Kings 4:25-27

It could be God’s fault. Sometimes he hides things from us. Perhaps we have trouble understanding our spouse’s mind because God has closed a door. But why would he do that? Why should understanding be locked up?

Maybe it’s all about timing.

It’s so hard when no matter how much we love someone or how hard we try, understanding can remain out of our reach. The most difficult part is remaining in that state without getting angry, or casting blame, or withdrawing our love.

I did all of those things when, at the onset of menopause, my emotions became unstable. I would calmly start discussing my concerns with my husband, but discord would escalate to the point where neither of us could sort it out. There was no making sense of it.

I learned in 2 Kings this morning that some of our befuddlement might be God’s design.

The prophet Elisha prophesied that the Shunammite woman would have a son, and it came to pass the following year. But God hadn’t told him everything.

So she (the Shunammite) set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, there is the Shunammite. Run at once to meet her and say to her, “Is all well with  you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?” And she answered, “All is well.”
And when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, “Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me” (2 Kings 4:25-27 ESV).

Why would the Lord hide things from us? In verse 27 we see the prophet told his servant to leave the woman alone. Time needed to pass before her issue and its answer would be known.

From my previous posts it looks like I’m really hung up on this trust thing, but I’m convinced that’s what living life with God is all about.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:5-9 NASB).

For me and my husband, and like the prophet Elisha, it takes time and trust to reach the place of understanding. Trusting God is the unlocked door to healing and refreshment.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

What if I’m Too Old?- Isaiah 46:3-11

Nurse Doris lost her patience with me as I counted the pills and placed them in tiny plastic bags. We were working in a bush clinic made of straw bales and thatch, and though I wanted to be helpful I struggled to understand her unfamiliar pronunciations of the medications we dispensed.

I was especially intimidated when I asked her for the bathroom facilities.

Doris huffed, cinched the chitenge skirt tighter around her hips, and sent me to the thatched hut at the edge of the village.

What if . . .

I walked around the circular latrine to check it out and found it was merely a hole in the ground with an open doorway facing away from the village. While I figured out how to manage I worried that my days of serving in missions might be numbered.

“What will I do if I’m unable to squat in my old age?” My physical limitations could keep me home. I was in my forties at the time but 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.

How can I serve if I’m disabled?

There can be benefits reaped from experiencing disability. One is that our weakness can give someone an opportunity to practice compassion and service. My elderly father was in the hospital recently, and he received encouragement from a young believer as she cared for him. He was able to give her a boost in return, saying “God bless you for being so kind to an old man.”

Another is that we can strengthen others in their faith. I followed the life and writings of Corrie ten Boom, a survivor of the Nazi death camps during WWII, and learned a lot about faithfulness in serving God no matter a person’s limitations. One of her stories was of a woman in Soviet Russia, bent and twisted from multiple sclerosis, who could barely lift her head. She could, however, move one finger well enough to type and translate the Bible and Christian books. The authorities left her alone because she didn’t seem to pose a threat, yet the pages she produced were passed far and wide.

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”

“. . . remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'” (Isaiah 46:3-4 and 9-11 ESV).

What I fear most

My physical condition and personal needs don’t hinder God in accomplishing his will, so why should I worry? He has cared for me since I was conceived. My needs will never be too much for him. He has never disappointed me. He will never abandon me.

But will he help me pluck out the dark hairs on my chin when I can’t see them any more? It’s a huge thing to worry about, right ? The truth is that what I fear the most is not being able to read the scriptures. Will his life-giving words be there for me when I am old?

Maybe he will send someone like the young believer that served my dad in the hospital. Whatever comes I can humble myself, quiet my soul, and trust him.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come” (Proverbs 31:25 NIV).

Thankfully, for now I have the ability to move more than one finger to serve others. I should go visit Nurse Doris and ask if she needs anything plucked.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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

Too Late for New Beginnings? -Zechariah 4:8-10

My aunt is a 90-year-old bride. I saw her photo on Facebook, and her sweet smile gave me courage to believe it’s never too late to start something new.

A few years ago, as I entered the Older Woman phase of my life, I decided I wanted to be a writer. In my research I found I should expect to invest nine to twelve years perfecting my craft before I’d attract the interest of a publisher. I was approaching the middle of my fifties, and time had to be running out for me.

Was I too late?

What if I announced I was a writer but ended up with nothing to show for it? Would folks think I was delusional, lazy, or only using my writing to hide from reality? And what if I died before I reached my goal?

Ninety is not too old

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My aunt isn’t afraid to start something new, though she has already outlived most her peers. Harlan Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, started his restaurant chain at the age of 65. The prolific and successful painter Grandma Moses began painting at 78.

I’m barely past 60, and though a high school classmate of mine died recently, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have proposed to to his sweetheart a few months ago.

There’s no shame in starting something new, ever.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying “The hands of Zerubbabel  have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel” (Zechariah 4:8-10 ESV).

Zerubbabel’s building project may have looked impossible or insignificant, but the Israelites were told the work would be completed and its small beginning would lead to rejoicing in the end.

I wonder, if I’m still here, what I’ll be brave enough to do when I’m 90.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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Note: I took a break from blogging to work on some health issues, celebrate the holidays with my family, and recover from a minor accident. My husband and I are OK, just a little sore. You should see my posts twice a month, as usual, from here on out.

Happy 2017!

A Quick Thanksgiving Meditation – Philippians 4:6-8

My eyes were stinging as I mixed the chopped onions into the dressing for the turkey a little while ago. Earlier I’d chosen a playlist on YouTube that featured Maranatha Music’s scripture songs. I sang along with a couple of them as I puttered around the kitchen, enjoying the encouraging, uplifting thoughts. Then this came up.

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-8 NIV).

I’ve taken these words to heart today.

In every situation, whatever the economic or political climate, however my relationships are playing out or the tasks getting done, no matter what is going on around me or in me, there’s no need to get anxious. In every situation I will turn to God with prayer and petition, thanking him for all he gives.

The following verse is where we’re told to only think about those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. That’ll keep my head busy!

His peace overrules all I don’t understand.

Thank you so much, Lord.

My timer just went off so I need to go check the oven. Happy Thanksgiving!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis