March 22

Invitation to Rest

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green
pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. —Psalm 23:1-3

When I was a kid, I didn’t understand why people seemed to like Psalm 23 so much. I thought it meant “I shouldn’t want anything,” and so I felt guilty when I did. Also, I thought it meant that God was trying to get me to nap outside when what I really wanted to do was play. It took me a long time to understand that “I shall not want” really meant that God would care for me so that I wouldn’t lack anything that I needed.

Years later, when I was on a retreat during graduate school, I found myself sitting on a log next to a stream after reading this Psalm. Suddenly “He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul” sounded so much more appealing to me than it had when I was a child.

In the course of this past year, which has been so bone-wearying for some and so mind-numbingly boring for others, God’s invitation to rest and res­toration still stands. Maybe we’ll have to search out our own version of green pastures and still waters to sit with God: a quiet spot in a nearby park, a patio chair on a porch, or underneath a beautiful tree in the neigh­borhood could work. A mom of three young children I know cleared out a small place on her closet floor where she can crawl in and close the door for a few quiet minutes each morning before she begins her day. Wherever we can go to be alone with the Shepherd who wants to give us rest can be our place of green pasture.

FOR REFLECTION: How do you make time to “lie down in green pas­tures” or let yourself be led “beside still waters”? If you don’t make time for it, how might you start building it into your days? Where could you go to find some quiet, peaceful time for yourself and God?