by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller
I noticed a note in my Bible beside Psalm 23 pointing to verse 2: “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” A familiar refrain to us, right? But why does God have to make us lie down, and why wouldn’t we easily?
The note I’d written who-knows-when says, “Sheep will not lie down unless things are perfect–no fear, friction, hunger, pain or disease.” Can’t you just picture a sheep pacing back and forth, wringing his paws (do sheep have paws?), muttering, “Oh, I just can’t lie down. I have this tick on my back which is irritating my skin. That other sheep I have to lie down by is so irritating. And aren’t those dark clouds gathering over us? Oh no, rain!”
I’ve been meditating on that. How like sheep I am–I hesitate and yes, even refuse at times, to lie down to rest in complete trust in God’s provision for me. I want things to be perfect before I surrender and allow Him to provide. I think I need to come through for myself rather than rest.
Of course, we’ll still be active in doing what God wants us to do, but in our heart we can be “lying down” in rest and trust the whole time.
I didn’t “lie down” some time ago. My daughter and grandson were scheduled to come visit, and the day before they arrived, my husband Larry mentioned he was finally ready to trade in both our cars and buy a new one. He wanted to do it the next day. Thinking it didn’t involve me, I said “great!”
But I did need to go, and when that became clear, I had a hissy-fit. I didn’t want to miss those first hours of my family being with us–even though they would be with us for two weeks. I didn’t want to lie down in surrender and trust God’s timing. I felt like I would be missing out on something too valuable.
But God said “lie down!” and I went. At first not happily but eventually as we went through the hours-long process, I was at peace. And almost at the end of the process, Larry mentioned to the salesperson about the kind of second car we wanted to find–of which we had seen nothing on the lot. The salesman’s eyes widened (seeing more dollar signs), and told us they had just taken in trade the day before a car that fit our description, but they hadn’t been able to put it out on the lot yet. We ended up buying that one too. Just what we wanted.
I became a thankful sheep, because if we hadn’t gone when I didn’t want to go, we wouldn’t have found the second car we wanted. God had provided, but it required my surrender.
And our visit with our daughter and grandson was wonderful. God provided everything we needed. I just needed to lie down in the green pasture. And not wring my paws because everything wasn’t going the way I thought it should.
Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. Psalm 116:7 NASB
About the author: Kathy Collard Miller is an award-winning author of over 50 books that include Christian living topics, women’s Bible studies, and Bible commentaries. One of her most recent books is Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. She is a speaker who has shared in 8 foreign countries and over 30 US states. Kathy and Larry have been married for almost 50 years and are the parents of 2 and grandparents of 2. They live in Southern California and often write and speak together. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com. She would love to hear from you.
Join the conversation: When has God called you to rest?