I’m reading through the psalms again. Again! Funny how the Bible’s prayer book keeps reverting to mundane words on a page as I hurry my way through this spiritual discipline with other tasks taking up space in my brain.
Some days, however, the words and the Spirit find their mark, and I really do find myself praying along with the psalmist. I certainly wasn’t looking for that miracle of connection to happen with Psalm 23–the one I’ve stopped hearing, the one about which I’ve told my husband, “Under no circumstances is this psalm to be read at or anywhere near my funeral.”
Beside Waters of Rest
The Good Shepherd and I have had a fair number of conversations about my need to “lie down in green pastures.” Somehow this can be the most challenging of all spiritual disciplines. The green pasture of prayer and worship requires a level of focused attention that doesn’t come easily to “do-ers”–or maybe to anyone in this age of continuous distraction and noise.
In my latest reading, though, it was a footnote from the ESV that stopped me in my tracks. Apparently, “beside waters of rest” is an alternative translation to the phrase “beside still waters.” Somehow hearing this word picture with different imagery made all the difference in my understanding and receiving it.
God never intended for my life to feel like the rapids on the Kennebec River!
Even in December with Christmas preparations tempting me to life on the rapids, when I am being led by the Good Shepherd, I can live at a restful pace. I can walk in peace, a fruit of the Spirit — a gift and not something I have to manufacture by myself.
God never intended for my life to feel like the rapids on the Kennebec River! Even in December with Christmas preparations tempting me to life on the rapids, when I am being led by the Good Shepherd, I can live at a restful pace.Tweet
So, what does this mean?
- Because God leads you beside waters of rest, rest is not a sign of failure or laziness. It is not irresponsible or even optional if we are serious about respecting the bodies God assigned to us.
Over the past several years, rest has become the most intensely regulated aspect of long-haul trucking. Shady businesses may try to shave off the number of continuous driving hours and fudge their records to eat up the miles and increase their profits, but lack of rest has been shown to be the leading cause of accidents on the road.
Collateral damage from lack of rest impacts anyone who is near. Innocent motorists, pedestrians, and property owners all stand to lose if an unrested trucker falls asleep at the wheel.
Can you point to any “collateral damage” in your home and family that has come because you were not walking beside waters of rest at the pace of the Good Shepherd?
- Because God leads you beside waters of rest, you are free. God invented Sabbath for his people, a formerly enslaved race. Once they were freed, they were required to rest! The One who directed their steps was also the Source of living water and the Provider of bread in abundance.
Life in 2022 has taught us to resort to adrenalin and caffeine when rest seems impractical. We are slaves to phone notifications, and we are addicted to information, but the truth is that constant accessibility does not contribute to the care and nurture of our souls.
A more healthful alternative is to trust the God who never sleeps. Jesus invites us to walk with him and work with him, to learn his “unforced rhythms of grace.”
It’s not too late to start over in this Advent season. By grace, we can reset our pace to walk with the God who leads us beside waters of rest.
Holding you in the Light,
Life in 2022 has taught us to resort to adrenalin and caffeine when #rest seems impractical. We are slaves to phone notifications, but constant accessibility does not contribute to the care and nurture of our souls.Tweet
A Dose of Truth for Your Advent Season
This is your invitation to join me and my newsletter subscribers in memorizing and meditating on Isaiah 9:6 during the Advent season. Obviously, all you really need in order to do this is a Bible and the willingness to put in the work. However, if you’re interested in some help and encouragement, I’ve created a PDF for you that includes printable resources including:
- The text of Isaiah 9:6 as pictured above
- First letters of the verse to push you along in your memory work (Have you ever tried this method? It really helps me!) The first letter of each word triggers your brain to say the right word without actually giving you the word in print.
- A Meditation Guide for each name of Jesus: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Each little card invites you to think about the Name in terms of who Jesus promises to be for you and what he wants to do in your life.
If this sounds helpful to you, get your copy by simply entering your email and then clicking on the button below…
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