He makes me to lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.
I’ve recently rescued three ewes from the meat market auction house and welcomed them to my homestead. These three-year-olds had come from a very large farm where they were not handled much by their owner. Their fleeces were so long-overdue for a shearing that they had been rubbing their backs on trees and fencing to remove it themselves, leaving wool-less patches of sore red bald spots.
I have never met sheep that were so skittish. As much I wanted to restore them to health, every time I would come close to them, they would jump up from a resting position, wide-eyed, stiff-legged, and in flight mode. They would huddle together, anxious to see when the others would bolt and they could follow.
I was wracked with guilt when I would catch them in the barn trying to find relief from the heat of their fleeces, and my mere presence would ensue panic.
So I gave them space. I fed my other three by hand so they could see I am one who could be trusted. I sat in the barn and just talked, letting my presence and my voice wash over them until it became normal that I was there. It was then I learned this lesson:
There is no restoration without rest.
There is no rest without trust.
There is no trust without a consistent history of provision.
There is no Psalm 23:2 without a foundation of Psalm 23:1.
There is no savoring God’s goodness
until we have acquired the taste for His Greatness.
Last week, I had you pray through the first verse of Psalm 23, listing all the ways God has met your needs. Still, so many of us feel unable to experience the blissful exhale that comes from standing the the shadow of the shepherd. Why? Might I suggest that anxiety, worry, and despair all come from the inability to trust in the One who has already proven Himself faithful in so many circumstances of your life.
Today with your mug in hand, as you take each sip, I challenge you to start each sentence with the words, “I trust you with ______________________.”
Let The Good Shepherd remove any anxieties and insecurities that are burdensome and not allowing you to experience joy and rest in His presence. Otherwise, dear friend, it’s like you’re trying to pick away at your own dirty fleece one chunk at a time and wondering why you are finding no relief.
When your cup is empty, I pray that your joy may be full. Please consider listening to this song. It is one of my all time favorites, and the second verse spoke volumes to me during today’s challenge!
Please post a photo of your mug with #Psalm23mugchallenge (or screen shot and share my image) to encourage others to join us! I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections from the day’s challenge.