Psalm 23:2-3a – He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (NIV)
"Green pastures" makes me think of spring, the lovely time of year when fresh green touches everything with hope. Being led by the Lord to a green pasture is our invitation to rest and to be renewed, as God fills our souls with spiritual refreshment. Sometimes, we need this rest so badly that God makes us lie down in those lovely green fields. During times of illness, we are forced to rest, but in our society, with all the pressures we face, illness is often seen as weakness. When will we ever learn? Rest and refreshment of body and soul is a basic need.
Do sheep, like us, keep going without a rest unless the shepherd provides a break and forces it on them? Do sheep get anxious and frustrated too? One day, while on a visit to New Zealand, I stayed overnight at a bed and breakfast on a sheep farm. The farmer, knowing I had never been close to sheep, offered to bring some down to a sheepfold close to the house. I was ushered into the same sheepfold. The sheep did not recognize my voice! Afraid, they jumped up and down frantically. Afraid myself, I wanted to get out! Like sheep, we all need a safe place with a shepherd who is familiar. I did not fill that need for those sheep. For us, only God can give the security we need, as we listen to that familiar, quiet voice.
Today, as we meditate by the still stream, we are reminded of God's promise:
Revelation 7:17 – For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, we are eternally grateful that we can look to You to fill our every need as we start this day. To be able to walk with You over each mile, with everything prepared ahead of time, is very reassuring. We are so thankful that You love us so. We don't know why we are so important to You, but we humbly accept Your love and Your provision. Show us, Lord, how to provide for the needs of those less fortunate: the poor, the ill, the blind, and those imprisoned by fear. May they see in us Your love for them. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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