Psalm 23:2 “He makes me lie down”
[I praise you, Lord Jesus, that, as my Shepherd, many times you don’t ask my opinion about what challenges I should face. Instead you, in your wisdom and goodness “make me lie down” in situations I’d just as soon avoid, like my wife’s deep depression that has been going on for some years.
Praise you for your love and wisdom in doing this, arranging events, circumstances and pressures that will cause me to grow and give me opportunity to give you glory by acting in faith.
Sometimes I could get up and walk away from this pasture (out of a relationship, off a job, away from a neighbor) before you are done with the lessons you want me to learn and the lives you want me to touch.
But once you’ve made me lie down, such rebellion would only lead to loss and then you would again make me lie down in a similar situation until I have learned what is necessary. Praise you that you are firm, persistent and powerful in your shepherding, wisely bringing me to what I need.]
“in green pastures,”
[The place you choose to make your sheep lie down is one where we can graze and grow. There is spiritual food, there is full provision, there is emotional nourishment. Praise you for your wisdom, that you know what is exactly right for each sheep and that you are persistent in providing it at that right moment.
We can trust you, no matter how brown the pasture may appear to us: an illness, a loss, a lingering depression, a difficult relationship, an unpleasant job. In your greater and more comprehensive understanding, you know it is a profitable place, providing us with the opportunity for growth, equipping and maturity.
Our green pasture is where each of us is now, the situation where, along with provision of beauty, comfort and the provision of our physical needs, there are pressures, stresses and challenges which push us onto our knees, into your Word, into your arms and through your lessons.
In these uncomfortable situations, you are giving us an understanding of our weakness, the opportunity to praise in distress, the chance to shed sin (complaining, gossip, selfishness and competition, to name a few) and to take up grace (forgiveness, kindness, service and love).
The harder it is, the greener the pasture. As it says in Romans 5:3,4, “…we also glory in our sufferings, BECAUSE WE KNOW that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
When we look at the larger view of what you are doing, we can gladly stay in the pasture you call green, until you tell us to move on. Help us to lie down where you lead us that we may join you in what you are doing: in us, through us and for us. May the sacrifice of praise permeate our lives so that we may be a sweet smell of grace and goodness to all around us.