You, Lord Jesus, as my Shepherd, make me to lie down in green pastures—you don’t ask, you make me lie down. You select the pasture I need now and keep me there as long as is needed so I can grow and deepen, mature and develop to become a better instrument in your hand.
Joseph in the OT didn’t particularly want to be a slave, or go to prison, but those were the green pastures you had for him. There he learned to deny self, to live for you and to be a good administrator. This made him fit to save many others, including his family, the Egyptians, and the line of Jesus so the Messiah could be born and eventually save us!
When finding ourselves in green pastures that aren’t pleasant (sickness, disappointment, heartache and failure, to name some), we can follow this advice: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you KNOW that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” James 1:2-4.
In the hand of our Shepherd, difficulties are directive, problems are providential and heartaches can be healing if we cooperate with Him, lying down in the green pastures He selects.
A key aspect here is to embrace what He brings with thanksgiving rather than suffering through with discontent and complaining. To embrace is to receive grace, to complain is to reject it: “God resists the proud [who reveal their pride by complaining] but gives grace to the humble [who accept what He brings]” (James 4:6).
So, let’s trust Him to know what is a green pasture for us and join Him in what He’s doing in and through it, in and through us.