green pastures
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We are emerging. All signs show that though the virus is not eliminated, we are heading in the right direction. I believe that after a tough year like the past one, all of us could use something that King David wrote about in the most well-known scripture passage, the 23rd Psalm. We need to have our souls restored.

My second-grade teacher, in a public school had us memorize it as classical poetry. I have been with people who have dementia. Their condition is so advanced that they do not know even their own adult kids — and yet, when I begin reading Psalm 23, they join with me. There is something very personal, very restoring, about the shepherd psalm.It really is a picture of God.

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.
(Psalm 23:1–3a)

Shepherds were everywhere in King David’s day and Jesus’ day. Herding sheep was very common. The sheep do not have to fear when they put their trust in the shepherd.

I dare say that many of us would answer with our lips that we believe that the Lord is our shepherd. But when tough times hit us hard, we are filled with worry. When the difficult circumstances pile up, health issues invade us, when we have problems finding work, or challenges at work, when our closest relationships are full of trouble…we worry. So, we ask, is the Lord really our shepherd or it is just a cute idea for a painting or a poem?

A few years ago, I went with a group down to Havasupai Canyon, a beautiful tributary of the Grand Canyon. The highlight of the trip was the incredible 200-foot waterfalls at the bottom. We camped, so we had to carry our food, our tents, sleeping bags, along with our other personal gear down to the Canyon. As we approached the day of departure, the greatest news was that our leader had contacted a mule skinner he knew and we were able to employ several of the canyon’s finest mules to carry our gear down and most importantly, back out. The trip was amazing…but what a different trip it would have been, if we had to carry the considerable pile of gear…all by ourselves.

Maybe that’s how God sees us…all these people, carrying around burdens that are much too big for them and God is saying, “Why don’t you take it off, set it down? Don’t you know that it will only crush you?”

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” He calls us to give him our burdens. Jesus wants to restore your soul…to give you hope for tomorrow, to rejuvenate your spirit today; to revive your God given potential.

For the stresses of each day, take some time to read Psalm 23 — one verse a day. As you do, you will be drawn closer to the Lord who wants to be your shepherd and restore your soul.

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