When There’s Fear in the Shadows – Psalm 23:3-4


Sometimes being in the dark is fun. When I’m playing with my grandchildren I allow my imagination to run a little wild. I jump behind a tree or freeze in the shadows so they won’t easily find me.

sun casting long shadows on green earth through a forest of mature trees

Other times the shadows make me afraid.

I’m in a place now where I don’t know the outcome of my struggles. I follow Jesus and I’m learning his ways, but I don’t know why things are the way they are. Being in the dark may sharpen my senses, but it’s not always fun.

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.


Psalm 23:3-4 ESV

Why do I so quickly forget how I came to this place? The psalm starts with “The Lord is my shepherd.” I’m walking through the valley of death shadows because this is where my shepherd brought me. We didn’t come by accident.

It also says he’s the restorer of souls and a shepherd who comforts with his rod and staff. I’m sure if I stop focusing on the pounding of my heart I’ll feel his gentle pressure against my shoulder, directing me down the right path. I’m so glad the psalm doesn’t say we’ll stay long. He’s leading me through the valley, not to it.

This place of not seeing clearly may be uncomfortable, but he won’t abandon me to the wolves that call to my fear.

He is with me, he is leading me, and he uses his tools to comfort me. For now, that’s all I need to know.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Here’s a good plan: Stay close to the shepherd!

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 children to be traumatized, war, natural disasters, Alzheimer’s, or ?

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

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

When relationships are difficult it’s hard to wait patiently for a solution. This might be by God’s design. 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 God’s 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, 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 one of God’s prophets, someone who understands things the rest of us don’t, was befuddled by another’s thinking.

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 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.

It might look 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

 

Like the prophet Elisha, my husband and I found it sometimes takes time to reach a place of understanding. When we acknowledge God in all our ways he straightens out the path before us. When the time is right, we’ll understand.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis