Our Good Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3

After a couple of weeks filled with late nights of studying for exams and writing papers, I was thankful for spring break. I decided to spend my break quietly at home with plans to eat home-cooked food, sleep in, and spend time with family and friends. I hoped to welcome spring by enjoying sunny skies and driving mountain roads with my windows down. Instead, I came home to six inches of snow!

My spring break didn’t look exactly as I expected, but God used the “spring” snow as a green pasture. I love how David reminds us that the Lord makes us lie down in green pastures (Psalm 23:2). I tend to put my to-do list above rest. My schedule is busy and I am in the midst of a fast-paced season of life. Even when I do allow my body to rest, my mind floods with assignments or planning my week. When I read Psalm 23, I feel myself aching for the kind of peace and rest in God that David describes.

Over my break, the Lord echoed the promises of Psalm 23. As the snow fell, I realized that part of snow’s beauty is in the way it makes us rest. When six inches of snow covers the road, we finally give ourselves permission to pause and take comfort in the present. Though I had hoped for warm spring weather, the snow prompted me to be still. In the quiet, I found peace in the presence of God.

My heart broke as I acknowledged how often I drown God’s presence in the noise of everyday life. Lying down in green pastures doesn’t mean clearing our day to sit in a comfortable chair and read our Bibles all day (though sometimes that may be what it takes), but often rest comes through awareness and submission. If God is the shepherd, we are the sheep. Our rest and restoration arrive when we submit to our Good Shepherd’s guidance. When we carve out time to find Jesus and follow His lead, we will find His peace. He will lead us to righteousness. We need not worry because, in Him, we have what we need and we have rest.

In his commentary on Psalm 23, Matthew Henry writes:

God makes his saints to lie down; he gives them quiet and contentment in their own minds, whatever their lot is; their souls dwell at ease in him, and that makes every pasture green.

Whatever our day holds, whatever stage of life we are in, whatever uncertainty we face, whatever dark valley we may walk through, our souls can dwell at ease in the Lord. The quiet and contentment that comes through dwelling in God is a comforting promise.

In a culture that prides itself in exhaustion, we often  deny the restoration that our Good Shepherd, is extending to us. When we intentionally dwell in the Lord, green pastures and still waters abound, even in the hurried weeks or in darkness. The path of righteousness that the Lord offers us requires that we make time to rest in him, that we be aware of His presence, and that we follow His guidance in trust and submission. I believe that if we, as a generation, choose to be aware of the Lord and follow His lead, we will experience revival through letting our weary souls and worried minds rest in His presence.



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