Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What are your calm waters?

      This summer has been a hard one for me. It started with a close friend pulling out of my life. Then another dear friend passed away weeks later. I was just coming to grips with all of that and I travelled across the globe on a mission trip that had both very high moments and times we hit rock bottom. With jet lag, it just seemed even harder for us to process everything. I got back home and our family had 8 days before my husband left for his 6-8 weeks of traveling for the harvest.  
   In the midst of it all, I am learning once again hopefully more permanently that God is my peace in troubled times. We also started to homeschool over this summer. The past week and into next week we are looking at Psalms 23. 
A Psalm of David.
1The LORD is my shepherd,
            I shall not want.
      2He makes me lie down in green pastures;
            He leads me beside quiet waters.
      3He restores my soul;
            He guides me in the paths of righteousness
            For His name’s sake.
      4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
            I fear no evil, for You are with me;
            Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
      5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
            You have anointed my head with oil;
            My cup overflows.
      6Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
            And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. 

    This passage has hit me with a much deeper meaning this past week as I have been digging into it. I always looked at it as something that calmed people but I never really looked closely at it as they are verses I have known all my life. In fact, I am sure they were part of my sister's funeral along with many other funerals I have been at. I just looked at it as the funeral verses.  
     This week I see that when I want peace I do tend to look for two things, water and fields. I am not surprised by this as I grew up with both close by.  I grew up on a dairy farm that had out on the back 40 acres what we called the cow pond. It was just a pond that had enough water for the cows to drink from even in the dry years.  This was a place of peace for me along with the lake just down the road that my aunt and uncle lived on and my parents later purchased their house.  It is now my favorite place to be at the lake on a mostly quiet day. I can still feel the peace that lifts everything away that comes from the quite sounds of his creation. God speaks and draws me closer to who he is in those moments. 
    What about the valley?  I think of that as the part that the pasture is in a lot of the times. At least for me, I picture a valley as a beautiful place. To think of the valley of the shadow of death I have to picture it covered with the storm hanging over it.  Even in the moonlight skies, you see the glory of the heavenly father's stars.  This valley is a valley of storms that Christ needs us to encounter to look at him to become our peace. 
     I struggled with moking and could have even said I eat at the table of my enemies in the past few months. These have been some of my times of storms. I know that God walked alongside me and covered me in his peace.  This was when I saw how god filled my cup to overflowing with his love because it was with his love that I could still be kind to the people I felt anger towards.
     As far as verse 6 goes I can't claim that one as mine yet I still struggle with knowing that goodness and kindness will cover me all of my days because I am human and I will fail myself and others. I know also that Jesus has carried all of my sins on his shoulders that I can be white as snow in Gods eyes not because of what I have done but that I have put my trust in Jesus as my savior.
     What do you think of when you hear these verses. What does the quite water or green pastures look like to you?  

Lord, I pray that you give each reader a new perspective on what you have provided to be their quiet waters and green pastures. I pray that if the valley is covered with a shadow of death you will turn to the only one that can bring the quite waters to you in that time. 
In Jesus name, I pray,
   Aman