Monday, June 15, 2009

Still Waters

(This article was written a few years ago, but I am preparing to experience its timeless truths again. Tomorrow morning, I'm going to encounter a man with a sharp knife, who is going to give me a new hip to replace the damaged one. This involves at least a 4-day hospital stay, followed by a few weeks of rehabilitation at home. I'm looking forward to the promised soul-restoration.)

I wouldn’t exactly call my sofa a verdant field, but this week, God is “[making] me to lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2). Again, I have ignored my body’s need for adequate rest, and have run headlong into a cluster of germs stronger than my resolve to be Superwoman.

As my codiene-laced cough syrup and a powerful antibiotic combine with my weakened physical state, I have resigned myself to spending time on the couch, cuddled up with a favorite quilt and a box of tissues. In times past, I would have begrudged such periods of relative inactivity. However, I now realize these “down-time” days are God-ordained, and can provide unique spiritual benefits. Seeing that the world continues to function without my help frees me to relax, while the Lord, who is my Shepherd, “leads me beside the still waters” (verse 2).

Maybe God is leading you “beside the still waters” through circumstances beyond your control. A job loss, a physical ailment, the ending of a relationship…all these frustrating and painful adversities can cause you to feel you’ve been placed on the sidelines. My friend, don’t rebel against these opportunities. Instead, see them as God calling you aside for time alone with him, that he may strengthen you, mold you, and possibly redirect you. Don’t shun the Shepherd’s tender care; the end results will be worth the trial and the teaching. You will then be able to agree with the psalmist who confidently proclaims:

“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Psalm 23:3

Related scriptures: Psalm 23, 1 Kings 19:1-12, Mark 6:30-32, Psalm 116:1-9, Isaiah 40:27:31