Right now the second service Sunday School time is dedicated to preparing for the Christmas musical, so I knew Abbie would love being in the midst of the singing. I recorded, "I can't wait to hear you sing again.", and Kathleen reported that when the kids finished a song, Abbie hit her switch to play that message. She also said that when she introduced Abbie to the kids, many of whom did not know her before, Abbie used her switch to say "Hi! My name is Abbie!" I program the messages in sequential order, so Abbie doesn't have too much control over which message plays when she hits her switch. I think God orchestrated things just right for her today so that the kids could recognize there is a smart, friendly little girl in that purple wheelchair.
Abbie also made a little star ornament this morning, with Auntie Kathleen helping her color it. It brought tears to my eyes because I so vividly recall the Sunday School craft Abbie made the day before she got hurt...the construction flower lei that she let me wear to lunch after church. It is sweet for me to see her doing some things she enjoys again, even if she has to do them a bit differently for now.
Our family was blessed that while Abbie was enjoying her time with the kids, the rest of us were able to be together in the service and really focus on the message. It was an important one for me to hear today, and proof that even the most obscure people can teach us meaningful lessons. Pastor McDaniel started off by asking if any of us knew who Shamgar was. To me he sounded like the Viking cousin of Scooby-Doo's buddy, but he was actually one of David's mighty men who served as a judge during a critical time in Israel's history.
The entire commentary about Shamgar takes one verse, Judges 3:31, "After Ehud was Shamgar son of Anath, who slew 600 Philistine men with an oxgoad. He also delivered Israel."
How much can one draw from that tiny verse? With just a little digging there is a gold mine to be had. You have to know that an oxgoad, as may be apparent from the name, was not a weapon of war but rather a 6 to 10 foot long wooden stick with an implement on the end normally used for sharpening plows. I thought a lot today about Shamgar, slaying 600 Philistines with a farming tool. I wondered if sometimes he wished he had a sword instead. I wondered if after Philistine #495 he got weary and discouraged. I wondered if he ever asked God "How much longer, " and "How many more can there be to come against me?"
If he did, I can really relate to him. After a wonderful booster like Abbie's enjoyment of Sunday School, this day has still ended in some weary tears. I feel like I am trying to fight a battle with the wrong tools most of the time. I know there is a race marked out for us, which implies a finish line, but I am tired. I do not want to quit when we may be all the way up to Philistine #552, and as I was praying through this I heard those very familiar words, "My grace is sufficient for thee." Comforting and challenging at the same time.
Ray has been a hero this weekend -- we had an event Friday night at the hotel just down from our house. He rented a room, tucked me into bed for a full night's sleep, and then came home to watch Abbie. I awoke to room service breakfast that included an enormous bowl of fresh berries, my absolute favorite treat. I was a new person. I guess, tonight, he and I are both a little discouraged that that wonderful recharge wore off so quickly. Please pray for our endurance and our faith...not in God, for that is unwavering, but rather the faith that we will walk this all the way to the end without faltering.
I'm sure much of interest happened in Shamgar's life, but yet it boiled down to "he slew 600 and delivered Israel." I wait in anticipation of the day when Abbie's story will be as concise, "She got hurt, God healed her and his Name was glorified. The End"