“He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul.” (Ps. 23:3)
Before we enter the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death, God takes care of us. We rest in green pastures. We receive needed refreshing by quiet waters. In the deepest core of our being, He prepares us by refreshing us.
Too many of us cannot remember the last time we felt rested.
Even worse, we cannot imagine feeling refreshed. That seems like a fantasy. Yet the claim of Psalm 23 is that God wants that very sustenance for us as a regular experience.
As I write these words, I am at the end of a long, full week. I am tired. I need rest and refreshing. I can choose to continue to plug away, get a few more things done, or I can stop, catch my breath, and begin to let my soul refresh.
Busy seasons come when it is harder to take the breaks we need. The problem comes when every season is a busy season. The issue is when we always resist God’s leading to quiet waters.
If we cannot remember the last time we felt refreshed, then perhaps we are ignoring God’s leading to waters meant to satisfy our soul.
After this point in Psalm 23, we move from rest and refreshment to walking. He guides us in paths of righteousness and is with us in the inevitable valley of the shadow. If we have pushed through to this point without resting and refreshing, we may not survive the walking.
Businessmen and women drive relentlessly week after week, month after month without a break. Parents wear themselves to a frazzle. Husbands and wives hurt each other because exhaustion has shortened the fuse of patience. This is not the way of Psalm 23. The Good Shepherd leads us to quiet waters meant to refresh our souls.
When we shut God out through our busyness and our incessant noisiness, we do so at our own expense.
Do we need to call a halt to the never-slow-down ways of our culture?
What refreshes you? Just like we need water daily, we also need regular refreshment for our souls. For some, the morning time with God is refreshing; for others, it is an obligation. I doubt God likes being an obligation. He is living water. Other people may refresh their spirit by worship music or a leisurely walk in nature.
In addition to daily refreshing, we need times of extended recharging, clearing the buildup of pressure and stress.
The rhythm of God is a way that begins with resting and refreshing, then walking and working, then resting and refreshing.
This is the rhythm that will equip us in the dark valley of the shadow.
Pause for a moment and consider whether you are living in the delightful rhythm of God.