Prayer & Devotion

Restful Assurance

Pretty Farm Near Carbost 02

At around 2 years old, problems with sleep became apparent with my son, Gabriel. No matter what remedy we tried, he just had a hard time settling his mind. When he went to bed, his mind would go on overdrive, processing all the details from the events of today, yesterday, and as far back as his memory can take him. It is no easy feat to make our very active boy lie down. And though I have no firsthand experience, it seems to be the case with sheep as well.

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post on Psalm 23, which was based on my husband’s teaching notes. The first post was just on the first verse: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (ESV). Though the verse has less than 10 words, each word was like a juicy morsel to savor and satisfy our hungry souls. The next verse is no different.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.”
(Psalm 23:2)

W. Phillip Keller, who had worked as a shepherd, wrote about his experiences as they relate to the 23rd Psalm in his book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. Making sheep lie down was not as easy as it sounds. In order for them to lie down, they had to be free from fear, free from friction with other sheep, free from flies and other pests, and free from hunger. Keller writes, “It is only the sheepman himself who can provide release from the anxieties. It all depends upon the diligence of the owner whether or not his flock is free from disturbing influences … I came to realize that nothing so quieted and reassured the sheep as to see me in the field.” (p. 33, 35). Since my only experience with sheep is driving past them on the road, I appreciate this brother’s insight.

What an appropriate picture of us: helpless, anxious, fearful, unable to experience true peace on our own. And what a fitting picture of God as our Shepherd: the only One who can free us from our fears, the only One who can make us lie down, the only One who can give us peace and rest. That is restful assurance!

Sometimes we can reduce the Christian life to a list of do’s and don’ts, that we forget the most needful thing is to rest in God our Savior. Sometimes we frantically look at our trials and the uncertainties they hold, that we forget to focus on the presence of our Shepherd to calm our anxious hearts. He will be the One to guide us to the places of nourishment (green pastures) and refreshment (still waters) for our souls.

 

(Photo credit: smilla4)

23 thoughts on “Restful Assurance”

  1. Ohhhhh this is fantastic!!! I absolutely love this Psalm. I know it’s a common one but for me it encompasses the whole of God’s character throughout every line, yes like you, I find every line a total feast.
    I remember the first time I meditated upon it, I was genuinely going to work my way though it all and then…I got ‘stuck’ on “I shall not want”. I just couldn’t move. I was laid out on the floor and all I could say was ” I shall not WANT???” over and over…for THREE HOURS!!! hahahahaha I bet He was laughing His little holy socks off at me!! Hahahaha
    Anyhooooo…Bless you so much x
    p.s I have that book and you’ve inspired me to pick it up again! 🙂

  2. I love this so much! I’ve missed reading my favorite blogs for the last few weeks (so much going on in my busy world). I’m so thankful this one didn’t slip past me…or the comments. It’s all a blessing.

    Praying for Gabe and for you.

  3. “Sometimes we can reduce the Christian life to a list of do’s and dont’s, that we forget the most needful thing is to rest in God our Savior.” I have totally been there before. It’s so important to remember that God cares less about what we do or don’t do for Him but about our relationship and daily reliance on Him. Great post!

    1. He still takes a couple of hours to fall asleep and gets up multiple times, wanting to discuss everything he thinks about. Routine definitely helps and not asking him too many questions. A least now, he sleeps through the night, which wasn’t the case when he was younger. Thank you for commenting! God bless!

  4. I love Keller. I had a blog writing somewhere for bipolar and depression where I used Psalm 23 . Good writing and I pray for Gabriel and you that the Lord may be glorified in all you do. I was supposed to have my last grandson to be handicapped according to the doctors. But lo and behold, we have a God in heaven, who does all things well. The prenatal diagnosis about my grandson was not so bad for his parents and us, but the other grandparents had a son with severe handicaps for 19 year until he died and it was agony for my son in law’s Mom to anticipate the birth of this baby not knowing , if he be ok for 4 month. Our children did not consent to a neonatal surgery AND they did not want to know the sex of the baby and totally trusted in the Lord with all things……….. drove most of the family nuts, but not us, since we know Jesus is in control. I am glad I found you. Not much time to read, since I am so busy with my own stuff….. crochet business and that very family will have another grandchild for us at the end of the year. That makes child # 3 and 9 grandchildren total. We are blessed!

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