I’ve traveled a bit in my life, though not as much as I hoped I would have by now. Yet, even as I write this, I think, “But Phyllis, you don’t really like to travel.”
It’s true. I love to be home. I LOVE to be home.
Still, I have plans to travel. I’d love to go to Paris with my sister and let her take me to every single pastry shop and café there is until we’re too full for another bite.
I’d really love to take my son and his new little family to the beach and help them make some favorite memories of their own. (This one’s probably the only one I’ll actually do).
I’d like to go somewhere my best friend wants to go – that would be somewhere with sub-zero temperatures, because for her it’s not about the place as much as it is about the absence of heat.
I’d go with her, even though I’d look like the little brother in “A Christmas Story.” You know? A tick about to explode because of the layers of winter clothing?
Yes, I have plans. Plans that get pushed aside because of whatever excuse I can come up with. If I could teleport somewhere, I would probably travel more.
You see it’s not the “being there” that wears me out. It’s the “getting there.”
I think that’s the way life is too. We get worn out from the journey, or the pace. We’re always looking toward the destination, but not the trip.
Sometimes the trip feels like being in a raft on a river and suddenly realizing you’re about to go over the rapids. Too late to get off. You just have to ride it out.
When life feels like this, the Lord gently reminds me that His way is the way of rest. Though you may have to walk the paths of righteousness over and over, and though you may go through the valley of the shadow of death, the journey He takes us on begins with rest. It begins with being led beside the still waters (the waters of rest).
Psalm 23 is the perfect picture of a life from start to finish. It is also a picture of a season of life, or even a day. Each life, each season, each day can begin with rest by the quiet waters and the sweet pasture. It can end with the unmistakable joy in David’s voice as he recounts how blessed he is.
I’ve said this before (and this time won’t be the last time): I think the 23rd Psalm is the greatest piece of literature ever written. It is so full of the breath of the Holy Spirit, it is such a vivid picture of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and it is such a lovely promise of our Heavenly Father’s faithfulness that it brings tears to my eyes each time I read it.
Even if you know it by heart, read it once more and listen for the breeze as the Holy Spirit breathes life into you. See the smile of Jesus your Shepherd as He leans close to you, and feel the warmth of your Heavenly Father’s arms around you.
And remember that all of this is to remind you how completely you are forgiven because of what Jesus did, how greatly you are cherished, and how deeply you are loved, my friend!
Simply rest in that. Today and every day.
Psalm 23 (NKJV)
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want (lack).
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord