My little girl stayed home sick from school today. She got to stay in PJ’s, watch shows most of the day and drink unlimited refills of orange juice. Since she wasn’t feeling well I decided to give her a nap. She didn’t want it and resisted it. But I could just tell she needed it. Parents know their kids — and I knew she really needed rest.
I let her go to sleep in my bed, and told her I’d be back up to check on her. I heard her playing for awhile, and after about 30 minutes she was still up. “I’m not tired!” she cried. I was insistent she try to sleep, so I laid down in bed with her. She cuddled up against me and I held onto her, but still was restless. She was lifting her leg, biting her nails, playing with Minnie, sighing dramatically — she could not lie still to save her life.
I was getting really frustrated with her (partly because now I was tired and kind of wanted to doze off myself) until a scripture verse started flashing in my head like it was on a scrolling marquee. Psalm 23:2, “He makes me lie down in green pastures…He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
He makes me lie down in green pastures…
He makes me lie down…
Wait a second.
He makes me lie down.
I, like my daughter, never sit still unless I’m in bed for the night. And for that reason, Jesus sometimes makes me lie down. Sometimes it’s a sickness that I suddenly come down with. Sometimes it’s a test or trial I need to focus on. And sometimes, it’s a hardship that leaves me broken and desperate. I believe he uses these times to get me to stop. I believe he uses these times to get me to rest and really allow him to be my Shepherd. He uses them because usually that’s the only way I’ll get still enough. It’s like he’s laying there with his arm around me, telling me I need to rest, and is barring me from any movement because he knows it’s good for me. Like a good parent, he knows I need it even if I don’t want it.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
After our pseudo-nap today, I looked up the Hebrew word for “make” in this verse, and found it’s rabas, and works in conjunction with “lie down” to mean: to make lie down, cause to rest, fall, fallen down.
Then I looked up “green” and “pastures.” A lot of commentaries say that “green pastures” is Hebrew for “pastures of tender grass.” But the word “green” itself here is dese, and means: new green vegetation, new green grass, new growth.
Those pastures have tender grass because the grass is new.
When he makes us lie down, it’s because there’s something new he wants us to rest in.
It’s so easy for me to sit with my problems and troubles for weeks, months (or even years) at at time, but I’m usually too consumed by myself to ask him what he’s trying to show me. I’m usually too inward-focused to see how going through it will help others around me. I’m usually too self-involved to gain a new perspective on him. I’m usually like my daughter, sighing dramatically wondering what time it will be over. I don’t stop to ask, “Okay, what’s new here?”
On the flip side, how often to do I sit and rest in the new things he’s doing? How often do I sit with a new blessing and just let it soak over me? How often do I experience the fullness of blessing, the fullness of joy, the fullness of love? I most often don’t. I most often acknowledge it, say thanks and move on to the next thing…because I’m too restless.
I need to listen to those times he’s telling me I need a nap. I need to obey when I hear that voice that says, “Slow down…just sit with it…don’t answer that call…don’t open that email…just sit with me in this…let me show you what’s new here.”
He’s a good parent. I need to just be an obedient child, trusting that Father knows best.
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.” (Deut 33:12)