Sometimes life is just hard. Sometimes our hearts cry out with a deep longing for clarity, direction, and peace. There are times when the weight of life’s circumstances cloud our perception of our blessed reality. There are times when the Lord allows a shift, a speed bump, or even a road block to interrupt our everyday lives. What happens when our well formulated plans are completely ruined and our everyday rush comes to an unexpected halt?
I am so thankful that when, in our most broken moments, the Lord still is near. Many times we miss Him in the midst of trials because we have mentally allowed our circumstances to become larger than God, the Creator of the universe. When we do this, we will find it hard to crawl out of a pit of despair. But you see, we are promised that “He will never leave us nor will He forsake us” (Deuteronomy 31:8). God is with us even in our greatest struggles. We have a choice to look for Him in the midst of our trials. Do not underestimate the Lord, He loves to reveal Himself to His people when they earnestly seek His face.
This verse was recently spoken over my life by a complete stranger: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me to lie down in green pastures…” (Psalm 23:1-2 NIV) This verse hit me in a way that it never has before. For the sake of context, please allow me to share these first two verses in their entirety.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23: 1-2 (NIV)
These verses have always sounded so peaceful to me. How peaceful it would be to lie down in green pastures and to be led beside still waters. I have never really paid much attention to one particular word in this verse…makes.
“He makes me to lie down.” This word “makes” implies an involuntary action. Sometimes the Lord causes us, or makes us to “lie down”. Sometimes He makes us hit our knees. Sometimes He allows trials to make us cry out to Him. Sometimes He allows our plans, our goals, or our dreams to fail so that we are made to stop, to “lie down”, to slow down, and to seek His face.
You see, before the Lord can “lead me beside still waters”, lead me to the place He has planned for me, or lead me to the mission He has prepared in advance for me, He sometimes chooses to make me “lie down.”
What will you do when the Lord makes you to “lie down”? Will you wallow in self-pity? Will you ask “why?” without truly seeking His will? I believe many of us “lie down” and we choose to not get back up. When the Lord makes us to “lie down” it is not always comfortable. We are not accustomed to stopping. We have agendas, we are rushing, we are doing, and we generally do not like it when our plans are messed with.
What if the Lord wants to ruin our plans in the best of ways? When He makes you to “lie down”, will you seek His face? His voice? His will? His “why”? His way?
I believe the Lord sometimes makes us to “lie down” to remind us to depend on Him. Sometimes He makes us to “lie down” to protect us. Sometimes He makes us to “lie down” so that we can stop and realize how truly blessed we are. Sometimes He makes us to “lie down” because it is the only way He can get our attention. There are many reasons He may cause us to “lie down”, but when He does, my prayer for you and for myself is that we would be quick to seek His face.
You see, the Lord doesn’t want to leave us “lying down.” He wants to “lead us beside still waters.” God calls His children to be actively led by His spirit. But before He can lead us any farther, sometimes He may cause us to stop, and “lie down.”
His word says “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing…”( Psalm 23:1)The Lord will equip you with everything you need for life’s journey and He will “refresh your soul” (Psalm 23:2).
Hang in there dear friend. If you are going through a desperate time, if life’s circumstances seem to be overwhelming, if your plans have been ruined, if your heart is so heavy you can hardly breathe…He is there. He has not left you. He will not leave you. Listen for His voice. He is inviting you on a journey. He will give you everything you need. He wants to lead you and refresh your soul.
There are blessings in the “lying down.”