Green Pastures and Still Waters

Even steel gets tired. People who work with steel say that even steel needs rest now and then. Under constant pounding there comes a brittle crystallization in the very structure of steel. Under strain it can snap.

Several years ago, my father-in-law and I were on our way home from Canada pulling a boat and trailer. We were coming through Indianapolis on a rainy night.  There were construction barriers on either side. The traffic was heavy and moving at 60 mph, bumper-to-bumper. I was exhausted and a nervous wreck when I pulled into a McDonald’s for coffee. As I turned into the parking lot, the axle on the boat trailer snapped. It had crystalized and broken as clean as if it was cut by a torch. I still thank the Lord every time I think of the incident. If the axle had snapped in that bumper-to-bumper traffic between those barriers, it could have been tragic.

We are certainly more sensitive than steel. Even Christians are not supermen and superwomen. We must understand that ‘we have this treasure in earthen vessels’ (II Cor. 4:7).  The psalmist tells us, ‘For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.”  We must find rest. We often go to sleep with apprehension and wake to anxiety. There is a breaking point. We do not need to escape, but we need rest. Little seasons of setting aside for a few moments from the pressures of the day are essential if we want to avoid the breaking point.

Let me offer a few things that I have found helpful. From time to time we need to step away from where we are and drink in the Creator in the midst of His creation.

  • Look around you. Smell the roses. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the skies announce what His hands have made. Day after day they tell the story. Night after night they tell it again” (Psalm 19).
  • God’s handwork can rest the soul. Some of us are nearer to nature than others, but even city streets acknowledge God’s handwork. A bench in a city park reveals squirrels scurrying around, a song bird, or children laughing at play. We can recover some of the simple joys of life in those moments. Oceansides, mountain heights, deserts or forests can speak to the heart.
  • There is healing in these moments apart. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul” (Ps. 23).  Even on the hot, dusty road through the wilderness God provided His people the Springs of Elim and refreshing shade (Ex. 15:27).
  • Find a few scriptures like the 23rd Psalm, Matt. 11:28, or Phil. 4:6-8 and memorize them. They will help calm the mind and settle the soul.
  • Take a few minutes with a close friend. Determine to visit friends more and talk about simple things, good things. Shared faith in Christ and common bonds gives us rest for our souls.
  • Laugh a little. Life is full of funny stuff if you just look. “ A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Pro. 17:22).

~ Brother Roy

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