We were visiting our eldest daughter and family this past summer at their home in southern California. I don’t really know what the Mamas and the Papas song “California Dreamin’” meant back in the 60’s, but starting about 2011, it meant dreamin’ of water. I’m also reminded of a pretty impressive draught we had back in Indiana many years ago. The grass had turned not only brown, but so crispy that you couldn’t comfortable walk on it without shoes!
Nice, spongey green grass, on the other hand, is so soothing to the feet, smells fresh when cut, and the sheep and cows feast away. No wonder the shepherd/songwriter/soon-to-be-king David used that in what has become probably the most beloved psalm in the Bible.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures…”
I like all of that, I really do. It’s just the “I shall not want” part that gets me a little tripped up now and again. Truth is, I DO want, a lot, and often, and sometimes not very patiently. And I don’t think I’m the only one.
- This is NOT the job/profession/pay scale I was hoping for.
- This is NOT the way I wanted marriage to be.
- This is NOT what I was wanting to happen at my church.
In other words, this is NOT green grass; this is brown, prickly, dying grass, and it hurts!
Looking back through that whole “great cloud of witnesses” thing, I can only imagine that some of them were thinking the same thing.
- (Moses in the desert with millions of complaining people) This is NOT what deliverance from Egypt was billed as!
- (Joshua coming back from scouting out the “promised land”) No one told US about the giants!
- (Peter standing by the fire) This is NOT what the Messiah thing was supposed to be like!
Thankfully, none of them quit. They embraced the current circumstance with faith in the God Who doesn’t lie, doesn’t leave, and doesn’t let go. And when He says green grass, then green grass it is. Even if I don’t see it.
Of course, lying down doesn’t just mean falling asleep, but it does mean a restful spiritual state, trusting in God to put me where He wants me, where I can be most intimate with Him and most effective for His people. AND allowing Him to define that intimacy and efficacy. Humility is a necessary component here. In fact, I like the part that says, “He MAKES me lie down”; that is, sometimes He may literally, by His grace and mercy, not give me anywhere else to go.
And here’s the challenging part: the grass might not turn green until I lie down in it. It might just be that my lying down—faithfully embracing what I have–is the catalyst that turns the grass green, not only for me, but for others as well.
Not seeing any green grass? Try lying down where you are.