“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3
“In Your presence there is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11
“Repent and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19
“When I couldn’t understand, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I entered God’s sanctuary and then I discerned their end.” Psalm 73: 16-17
With the rough winter that is still not behind us, it seems that everyone around is more tense, ready to lash out, stretched thin and looking at a jam packed schedule. The darts and arrows in battles seem to be more destructive lately. Turning on the news, it doesn’t get better. It feels like a pressure cooker ready to blow most days.
What replenishes me? My first inclination is to fight for “me time.” Maybe a day off to go do something fun. But even if I get physical rest but don’t get my spirit and soul restored, I’ll still be drained. The word restore carries with it the meaning of a returning, a movement back to the point of departure, back to my soul’s original resting place. That must be in God, not in anything else. They say that artificial sweeteners don’t give your brain what it’s looking for, so it keeps craving sugar. I have a lot of artificial substitutes for God’s presence that leave my spirit and my soul still craving for Him.
That’s when the times of refreshing come. In Acts 3:19 Peter linked refreshing to repentance. I need to repent when I turn to anything else to satisfy and give me the soul restoration that I need. Or when I run away from God instead of to Him. I run to some dumb TV show, to shopping, coffee with friends or quality time with my hubby–instead of face time with the lover of my soul.
In Psalm 73 Asaph, the writer, was embittered and bothered because the evil people seemed to be getting ahead and the godly people were struggling. He said when he was holding on to that bitterness he was like stubborn beast, unable to hear from God. Until he went to the sanctuary, God’s presence. That’s where he got an attitude adjustment. They had to go to the Temple to meet with God. We don’t, we just get to curl up in a quiet place to pray, seek God and read His Word. Maybe with some good worship music on, or maybe it’s just acknowledging our need for Him as we drive to work or sit at a stop light.
Psalm 23 tells us that is is God that leads us to those green pastures, still waters, and places of soul restoration. Today I must stop, listen and go find my joy in His presence.