I’ve been a little quiet, a little absent, the last few days. Life has a way of doing just that, getting in the way sometimes, you know? We have families, and work, and activities, and yada, yada. We also have hope and dreams.
All of those things require attention, time and dedication. Some days, our family requires more of us. Other days, work requires more of us. Sometimes we just need a little bit of us left for ourselves. These fluxes are inevitable. The ebbs and flows of life certainly keep things interesting.
Meander…pronounced me-ander, not mean-der, means to follow a winding course, a bend of a river. Synonyms are sited as twist and turn. If I know anything about life, it is that it is full of those, twists and turns. We are consistently following a path that winds about from here to there. Sometimes we can’t see around the next bend or past the mountain in front of us, or over the crest of the next hill.
These little things always seem to pop up along that course. Rocks fall and we stumble. We get sick. Our kids struggle. Our spouse pushes a button. We have to work too much over-time. Someone loses a job. Laundry is piled up. We have too many places to be. A family member needs our help. Death. The list goes on and on. But that’s just life.
Our church is currently in the middle of a series called Heaven and Hell. This past week, the message was all about Heaven will be like, as best as we can know this side of the pearly-gates. I can tell you one thing for sure though, Heaven will not be meandering around boulders in our path. And honestly, I don’t think this is what God intends for our lives here on planet Earth either.
Let’s look at Psalm 23.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
I just love the KJV of this scripture. The words are just elegant and flowing and people no longer talk this way, yet it still feels so familiar and comforting.
So here we are aimlessly meandering through life, climbing over boulders, muscling our way through the mountains, dragging uphill. And yet, David says, He maketh me lie down. Now you’ve got to remember, God is called the great Shepherd. We are titled the sheep, and sheep aimlessly wander, get lost, fall off cliffs, and unless the shepherd guides them to pastures they sometimes will not lie down to rest. If there is any sense of fear, hunger or discomfort, they sheep just won’t lie! And what about us? The same holds true.
God longs to give us deep, soul-satisfying rest. When our hearts are satisfied, we rest. He wants to lead us to green pastures to fill our bellies with spiritually mature grasses. When our bellies are full, we rest. God is ushering us into rest with all of the right necessities at hand. He is equipping us with fields that satisfy our needs so that we can live lives of rest in Him.
David goes on to declare that He leads us beside still waters. Did you know that sheep will not drink from rushing waters? Shepherds must find calm waters to hydrate their flock. They turn from rushing waters out of fear. The loud sound of the waters frighten them. When they take that long drink in, though, from a calm stream, they are replenished.
Thinking over my own life, they have been many times, even just in the last few weeks and days, were I have heard many things that caused me to fear. Kyler, for instance has really been struggling in school these last few weeks. He is just struggling. No pin-point reason why, but he is. Fear. Piper still has belly pains from time to time, and those pitiful little cries? Fear. These are just personal mom fears. This doesn’t even begin to cover the communal fear, the national fear, or the worldly fear.
God does not want us to live a life of fear! He has given us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love! He designed us to be taken by the hand to be led to still waters, where things are not so scary. Do things still happen here? Yes. Can we still fall into the water? Yes. Can we at least brave stepping up to the waters, though? Absolutely. We have the Shepherd near to keep us safe and to give us a long drink from the pool of living water.
He leads me in paths of righteousness. By His grace and for His glory, the Spirit comes to us at salvation and takes up residence deep within our souls. He quietly stirs within and prompts our hearts and our minds, our lips and our hands and feet. He reveals to us the ancient paths and wisdom. And when we come to the ingress of the valley of the shadow of death, the darkness of our souls and our fleshly lives, we find comfort in His guiding rod and staff.
God is inviting us to live in this deepest place of rest with Him, in Heaven, and here on Earth. We’ve all be meandering through this life. Sometimes we are alone on the winding river. Sometimes we journey together. Sometimes we face peaks. Other times valleys. But there is one thing that is constant. The presence of God.
Just as God was with Joseph in Genesis, and the Israelites in Exodus, God is with you. The life He has intended for us all is a life of rest, IN HIM.