This week has been a rough one for me. I am struggling with pain issues more than usual. I have also come to the conclusion that my pain is a trigger for our boys to out perform each other in rowdiness. I have also been struggling with a bit of loneliness. I am the type of person that loves to be involved in things, plugged into my church family, and surrounded by friends I can do life together with. We are still searching out the church home that is right for us here in our new community and I am so impatient….i just want to be where I am supposed to be and get going!
Yes I am a type A, first born, control freak…….i admit it…..so there, i know you were thinking it. It is a constant struggle in my life to let go of control and let God do without a fuss from me.
The service we were in this past Sunday was an interesting one. The key scripture was from Psalm 23. This is my favorite Psalm and maybe one of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible. It is used so much that I think people forget to really listen to its words. This week I found such comfort and yet another lesson in being content from this passage.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
The word LORD here translates to “the Lord who is here with me”. This passage isn’t talking about the big, huge God that created the universe but rather the God that is right here with me, walking through each day with me, each nasty diaper, each snotty nose, each lonely moment…….the God that is here with me. That same God is my shepherd. A shepherd takes care of his flock no matter the cost. The word “is” speaks to the present tense, not the past or the future or just sometimes. Right now, right here in the midst of my average day the Lord who is here with me is my caretaker and because of that I shall (future tense) lack nothing. I have all I need right here because I have Him. That’s good stuff people!
He makes me lie down in green pastures. As many times as I have read and recited this passage, this week was the first time I heard the word “makes”. He MAKES me lie down. As I am getting older and, i wish a little wiser, there have been many times where my physical body has just given out and forced me to be still.
This season in my life is uncomfortable to say the least. I want to go and do and have friends to visit with and serve with. But maybe, just maybe, this is a season where God is making me lie down. Is it possible that He is telling me, “Hey Jen, its time to lay down for a while and rest. Be still and quiet and listen for my voice.” Or maybe, “Hey baby girl, i wish you would quit trying to do things your way. I wish you would let me lead. I know what is best for you my child”.
What I think is awesome about this passage is it was written by David who had spent many years running and hiding from a jealous and angry King Saul who was pursuing him relentlessly. David didn’t write these words from a place of comfort and peace, he wrote them during uncomfortable times. Like so many other people we read about in the Bible, David found joy, hope, and comfort in hard times of life. Why? The presence of Jesus makes all the difference! In Jesus we find everything we so desperately need in spite of whatever darkness we are experiencing! Let me say that again,
In Jesus we find everything we so desperately need in spite of whatever darkness we are experiencing!
Not only does my Shepherd stay with me, provide for me, and force me to rest when I refuse to care for myself but He also restores my soul. The word restore can be translated two different ways: to correct or to heal. Either way works for me. Once God finally gets me sat down on my butt, He doesn’t just leave me here in time-out. He stays with me. He holds my hand. He heals my wounds, my heart, and my fears. And then He corrects me, lovingly, from the wrong in my life.
This chapter is so full of encouragement and wisdom I could type for days. But I will stop here tonight. What I really wanted to share with you is what Christ is teaching me during this season in my life because maybe you are in the same place. Isaiah 40: 30-31 says:
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
The same LORD that is here with us in no matter what we are facing will reward those who put their hope in Him. We will be restored and renewed. He is the God who is here with us. Maybe your days are like mine, full of taking care of kids and a household; maybe you are in a season of hurt from divorce, abuse, anger, or neglect; or maybe you are just downright depressed with where you are right now. I want you to hear this….Christ is right beside you as you read this post. He has always been with you and He will never leave you. Have you ever considered that maybe He is “making” you “lie down” right now so that you will seek Him and His will? I know that is where I am with Him right now. It is a season of learning and being still enough to hear is still small voice.
John 14:1-6 is another commonly heard passage but listed carefully to the end:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The answer to the question “Where am I going in this life?”, “How do I get out of this mess?”, and “Why am I here?”, are all found in verse 6. Jesus is the way. He is here and He has brought us to the place where we are right now no matter what that place looks like or how dark it may seem. It is not an accident.
God is able. And God is here. We lack nothing. We don’t need another nap, or a better job, or a different spouse…..we need more of God. He is the way…..trust Him…….