Psalm 23: Learning to Slow and Rest

Andrew’s retreating with a fly rod in hand and I’m cocooned in the love of family and this week we are resting. a lot.  This is a republished post from last year after Easter which I reread often…maybe it will be a gift for you too.

 

THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. Psalm 23:1

You have the crook, yes, but You have the heart, open and generous, protecting, shielding.  I shall not lack…here, now in this Moment.  This seems to be the key.  You are always enough Here.  I am the one who runs ahead into lack, who runs ahead into fear and smacks my head sharp.  How could I lack with Your powerful Presence, with me, for me?  You are here and that news is like spring water running again.  Fear drives me to lack as a frozen stream, stuck.  Your Presence heals my fear of not enough, my fear of new, my fear of judgment.  The lies that shout, fall silent at Your feet.  You are here.  I shall not lack.

Sheep are dumb.  I heard it over and over in sermons.  Now I understand: “Sheep are simple.”  I AM simple to You.  You know my needs and how to meet them in the here and where to get daily bread.  This awkward, leaping frog jump into the future was never made for me.  I am simple.  I was meant to take small steps forward, while chomping on what was right in front of me.  I need to remain simple, open, slow, close to the Shepherd.

 2He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters

In You I can rest deep, like Andrew and I did that night 15 yrs ago in our two person tent, hearing the water’s current and play around the rocks, zipping out and seeing the waterfall’s faithful spurt.  Someone had placed a stick cross in the rocks and that is still my favorite place we ever lived, even if it was just for a night.

Shepherd, you know my simple needs:  daily, minute by minute You, Bread of Life, fresh, tender Presence.

And Living Water.  Hours at the drinking fountain and You still do not run dry.

You never run dry.

 

 

 

 

 

3He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him–not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.

You refresh and restore my life.  When do you do this?  Now.  In the delicious, rain drenched kids-still-asleep early.

I am restored to joy by being present.  Here.  Now.  Because You are Here, Now.

Sheep are simple, easily led. I am not.

I am a wild colt, jolting, running crooked, spooked eyes wild at the unseen.

I feel You stand and hand out, low voice, full authority speak “Be Still” at my wave-whipped storms.

Be still and Know and then walk slow, purposeful,

listening

until you need to Be Still again.

 

4Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.

We don’t get out of here alive, Dad says.  Death will come.

Death will someday be peace.  But fears, sudden tsunamis from the deep, make for a living death, whipped by lies taught by the unhealed.  I become a shade, afraid to walk on sharp grass, unable to identify the lines in my hands, let alone my Shepherd’s.

Knees tremor. Internal earthquake.

The crook helps.

I feel the gentle pressure of the wood tapping me from the precipice and I slide closer to the wall of the mountain, feel it solid against my palm.  “I am here, Summer.  Do you see that foot hold?

Step there.

Step and then another Step.

Deep Breath. It’s ok.

Take your time.

We’ve got all the time in the world.”

I hear my husband Andrew’s patient voice as we hiked dangerous passes around Linville Gorge before the children were born.

And how much more my Father in heaven?  The knees congeal again and I focus here, now:  Take in the view,

Feel the ground solid beneath my feet,

Run hands over the plants rooted in crevices.

He’s got this.  Deep Breath.

My God: He’s got this.

5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.

This one makes joy rise.  You cooking, stirring, adding your chiffonade herbs, spreading out a table cloth, folding napkins: the King of Hospitality.

And I love You for it.

The company, not so much.

But the enemy did not see Joy coming.

Crouching, ready to strike, shocked at a Present banquet with the Shepherd Himself.  Joy Present in the moment pushes fear to the edges.  Love shows him the door.

I can eat, drink, be satisfied, fully Present.  Drinking the vintage of the greatest Company.  I am loved and delighted in, oil anointing, not out of lack but spilling over.  We’ve got plenty, my Dear.  Let’s feast: raise a glass to our love.  Don’t worry, there’s more where this came from… for tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

6Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.

After feasting on Love made by the hands of Goodness Himself, Mercy’s coverage on my fears, I know how to Be.  I am to be a Dwelling open for Him, Being still and Knowing, and then walking slowly only when still and knowing.

I am to invite Him to my here, now.

You are Here, Bread, Living Water, wine of joy and You have and are and will give me gifts in the here.  Full ripe fruit moments I have just begun to taste.

I saw You eating a ripe peach slowly in my last prayer time solid in Your Presence.  You shocked me with Your enjoyment of the temporal.  I had forgotten that You redeem and resurrect earth, that turning water to wine was your first miracle…

resurrecting Present joy is mine.

Summer Gross

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. What a lovely way to “see” that very used scripture. Joy does come in the “morning”… After a time of rest.

    1. Hi Friend,
      So thankful to connect with you over a potluck here. You always bring such a vulnerable wisdom to the table. Thank you for who you are!

  2. Summer…..your partner “in crime” needed this very meditation today……after a bad nights sleep…trying a new med that didn’t work. Thank you! It’s lovely…and true
    Linda

  3. Hi Summer. Such beautiful and moving words. So poetic. I enjoyed sharing in discussion with you at the FFWgr circle. Thank you for words of encouragement today. Blessings!

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