My daughter was standing in my bedroom doorway. She was asking yet again if we could purchase a piece to an old game system we have. I was trying to do the motherly balancing act of being understanding, but not saying yes. I know there are at least three of those pieces in the house somewhere. And I know it’s not her fault no one knows where they are. Yet, they are here somewhere, likely a box that remains unpacked from when we moved here. To make matters more complicated, I had seen this request coming and I had already purchased one of these pieces to put in her Easter basket, just a week away. Now she was trying to wear me down in that doorway.
Now, if she were to ask her dad, it would be a different response altogether. He would have surely dismissed her with a “I don’t care if you ever find the controller for that game system. Video games are the death of a generation!” I was hoping to quell her persistence before he arrived home from work for the day. I offered to go to the basement and start looking with her. Certainly not what was on my agenda, or on my stove which should have been full of tonight’s dinner by now. It settled her spirit for the moment. How I’ll keep her settled for a week remains to be seen.
Balancing people and issues is often a woman’s job. Since we are women, we can “feel” what needs to happen. And then we have to take those feelings and mix them up with the thoughts and actions of those around us and make a decision as to what our part is. Making good judgements about what to do next is in itself a discipline not for the faint of heart.
In a series that I’ve wanted to do on some of the lesser known women of the Bible, I came across Abigail. As I read her story, I could feel her angst over “what to do.” Abigail was married to a man named Nabal. Nabal was an ornery man. Have you ever known anyone married to an ornery, cranky husband. Not only is she on edge, but as a friend it is hard to be around her sometimes because he is likely to embarrass her with his grumpiness. At some point, you know you’ve said this about someone else’s husband: “I’m so glad I’m not married to that man! I don’t know how she can live with him!” That is how I think Abigail had to feel…all the time. In Samuel 25, we see that Nabal was a wealthy man. He had lots of sheep and lots of hired hands. When the hired hands had been out in the fields with the sheep, David (who wasn’t yet King), had pretty much been surrounding Nabal’s men who had enjoyed the comfort of having protection around them. David’s men had been kind. They didn’t take Nabal’s sheep or slaves, they even shared food and provisions with them. Now, David wanted to move his men and so he sends a messenger down to Nabal and basically asks if he and his men can move that way and be treated well by Nabal. He asks Nabal to welcome him and provide for him, since he had treated Nabal’s men well in the fields. Well Nabal is his ornery, cranky self and sends word that he is not about to share any of his bounty with David’s men. And David’s blood boils! He is so frustrated he plans to slaughter Nabal and his men!
When Abigail gets word of what happened from a terrified servant, she probably feels that tug-o-war that I felt with my daughter in the doorway, knowing my husband would be home any minute. Should she interfere? Should she mind her own business? Why did Nabal have to be this way all the time anyway!? Then, in a judgement fitting a very careful and wise woman, Abigail gathers a massive amount of goodies and she takes it to David and his people. David, who was descending on Nabal’s land at that very moment is quickly appeased. Abigail, who hadn’t even told her husband what she was doing, had ultimately saved her home and the bloodshed of many. God, knew though. In a few days, her husband Nabal is struck dead by God himself. David, who would become king of Israel, eventually takes Abigail as his wife.
Have you ever felt the anxiety of knowing what was happening in a situation, but no one else seemed to be able to see it? Those are the moments to quietly analyze what’s happening and make a wise decision. Sometimes these are feelings that only a woman has about a situation because of our “intuitive” design. We can learn from Abigail by what she does do, and what she does not do. What she does not do is run around screaming that they are in a crisis! She doesn’t escalate the situation. She does not just close herself in a room and wait. She doesn’t just cry and sit on her hands. She actively seeks to run interference when it is needed. She didn’t even alert her husband because he might have forbid it. Knowing when your hands are tied and knowing when they aren’t takes wisdom.
Are you a peace maker? Are you able to bring sense to a situation that seems to be spiraling out of control? Can you see what is needed? Pray for wisdom to make a judgement call and then make a good one! Do not be afraid! You may have to face an army, but if you’re obedient to God’s plan, trust He sees and will have the final say.