I cannot both rest and worry at the same time. If I am worrying, I am not resting. I might be able to relax… but at the back of my mind there would always that “what if,” so that’s not real rest. The great thing is that every moment of every day, I get to choose. Will I worry? Or, will I trust Him and rest in His care.
A lesson on rest. A few years ago, we went through an unsettled time. We sold our home and hadn’t been able to find a new one yet – and then my husband became ill and needed surgery, complications…and still no new home. As he recovered, we moved everything into storage and lived in a borrowed home for a while (Thank God he provided a temporary home!).
During these months, the Holy Spirit sweetly led me into peace using Psalm 23. Every night as I lay down to sleep, negative thoughts would come, but He taught me to refuse and refute them one word at a time using Psalm 23. I began to meditate (choose intentionally to think about and expand upon, roll over in my mind, and even speak to myself) what a word meant until I fell asleep. I started with…
The Lord – yes Jesus is My Lord, my Father is the Most High God, the King of Kings, the creator, the source of blessing. He is the one who calls me beloved, and He has promised to meet all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus…
My – yes that means belonging to me. He is my Lord. He said to cast all my cares on Him and expect Him to care for me…. He also cares for my husband, we both belong to Him.
Shepherd – He is responsible to care for me and my husband. He is our shepherd, we hear His voice and we follow his leading, he rescues us when we need it, just like he rescued the one sheep in His Word. He provides for us, He leads us and shows us what to do. He provides for our needs, gives us rest, heals us, and delivers us.
Often I would fall asleep while meditating on these few words. But if I woke up in the night, I would start at the next word and continue on, thinking about green pastures, still waters, how He restores my soul. Sometimes I still meditate this Psalm while falling asleep, it brings me into a place of rest.
He has been teaching me about rest for years, and thankfully He still is. I have found true rest comes from knowing God and His character and in learning to trust in His love.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23 (KJV)
Check out this great commentary and all the versions of Psalm 23 on blueletterbible.org.