Week 3, Thursday
Thursday - Led to the Water
I'm sure you've heard someone say "I just want to run away and sit beside an ocean somewhere"... I know I've said it at least half a dozen times this week! There's something about sitting beside water, whether the mighty ocean or a calm lake, that brings an exhale to our body and soul. My kids even have a sound machine that plays the sound of waves all night!
The psalmist tells us that God guides us to waters in order to restore our souls.
Sometimes, when we read the 23rd Psalm, I think we repeat the words without truly thinking about what they mean. This morning, let's take time to really meditate on these words.
Psalm 23: 1-3
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
Close your eyes for a few minutes this morning, push away all the distractions, and imagine yourself beside the waters (whatever body of water you think God would lead you to for refreshing). While you're there, imagine that Jesus is sitting with you. Sit in silence with him for a few moments. What do you want to say to him? What questions or thoughts rise up in your spirit?
If you've never done anything like this, you might feel silly. Don't rush past this part, sit with the silly feeling and see what happens!
What are your favorite ways to experience refreshing? When do you most experience peace?
When do you find you need those moments the most?
How good at you are taking them?
What is keeping you from accepting God's leading to the refreshing places?
Can you commit to finding time in the next few days to let God lead you to a place or practice where your soul can be refreshed?
Please, do not weary of us, O God,
as yet again we open before you
the dark places of our lives.
and seek the healing of your light.
Forgive us for the pace that forgets you
and snarls our days in a faithless scramble
to make more ends meet than we can manage
or than you purpose for us.
- Ted Loder "Restore Our Souls to Singing"
“And Jesus said Come to the water, stand by my side, “ I’ve sung that song since college. When I sit at the piano and play, many times that song comes to me. I love the water. I love the Marginal Way in Ogunquit. I love the Mohawk on Peebles Island. I love Barkley’s Lake in Washington County where my Dad took me camping when I was a boy. In Israel, I have stood on the shores of Galilee where so much of Jesus’ ministry took place. There is no doubt, water offers a place where my soul is stilled and refreshed. When I can’t physically go to the water, I can close my eves and picture it. Bert and I spent some time on Mirror Lake last Fall. I can picture it this morning as I write. It is a good reminder that I need this time of refreshment. I need to do it more often. I need to do it because it is a good place to hear His voice amid the cacophony of sounds surrounding me in day to day life. Thank you for a great start to March 11,2021-indeed a day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad!
For many years my husband and I have been visiting the marginal Way in Maine. Many of those times I felt that the Lord was leading me there to have a good “talking to“. Or to “do business“. Most of the time I feel out of control or need for him to be my shepherd and lead me. I know that when I think of the Lord being my shepherd, I know that when this was written that was probably a very popular career, which is why the writer calls God my shepherd. That is not a very popular career these days, but the need for a shepherd still is very real. It is confusing as to why the Lord leads me to the marginal Way, where the water is turbulent and always worked up. But that is how I am most of the time and I know that he leads me there to dress that action. I have sat on those benches with the Lord so many times, that it is not hard for me to imagine doing so. I will often say “the Lord is leading me to Maine“. Jeff and I are contemplating buying a “summer home“ in #MIN because I know that our spirits need to be where he is. But yet, I can go there at any time, in any place. While it may be difficult to get away to #MIN sometimes, it is never difficult to go and sit with Jesus on that bench at any time. And it is not always when I am upset or contemplating a particular item, but just to feel that he is with me and guides me in anytime. as strange as it may seem, as I plunge into retirement you would think that I don’t need as much time with Jesus, as most of my disturbances are flowing away from my life. But in actuality, I find retirement a very unsettling place for me. I am, as I’m I have been, as I think I’ve said before, a workaholic all my life and find it very difficult to gear down. We will be going to Maine in April for a week and I am so looking forward to it. But, I don’t need to go there physically to go there mentally and be in the presence of the Lord.
So glad you are going to Maine in April. We will join you vicariously ! Bert and I are going to North Carolina to be part of Toni Melville’s wedding.
Again God talking straight to me through these! Just yesterday Mike and I were talking about how we are at our best when we slow the pace in our day-to-day living not even our schedules but just in our approach at our communication at our day-to-day activities, slowing the pace helps us truly see the peace and feel God’s presence and guidance! ! I love the line of that prayer “ let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” ... when I imagine sitting down next to Jesus I am filled with so much peace, I would love to just thank him for everything and give him a big hug!
This morning I decided to grab my coffee and sit on the back porch for my quiet time, so I can hear the water and watch it just flow by. What a perfect devotional for today!
This Psalm is something I often think of when I sit here, but today I noticed that it talks about still waters.
For me, that's Keuka Lake, where my mom grew up, whether I first learned to swim, and where I visit my cousins. It's definitely a place of peace for me, as well as a place to feel belonging and love in the family. We will go there in May once we're both fully vaccinated.
But today, I am incredibly thankful for this porch that lets me hear the rushing river, listen to the birds and watch the water, and think about how much snow has melted to make it so fierce. It's been a long, long winter but spring is coming!