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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Green Pastures Inn and Still Waters Spa

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.”
Psalm 23:2 AKJV

Jesus, the Master Gardner is always surprising me by taking me to a place in my heart’s garden where I have never been before. Today is such a day. As we walk hand in hand he leads me down the winding pathway that presents a never ending parade of gorgeous flowers on both sides of the path. There is electric blue Salvia and sunny yellow Yarrow. I love the sweet, light blue Forget-me-nots, reminding me that Jesus never forgets me. Every step is a joy as the Master Gardner and I walk together and admire his amazing handiwork.

We are now nearing the back fence of the garden. Beyond the fence lies the surprise! It is a beautiful lush emerald green pasture that is dotted with wooly sheep. They are lying down in perfect contentment. This is only possible because they have a good shepherd. Sheep are on the go most of the time because they refuse to lie down unless they are free of fear, friction, torment and hunger. Obviously, this shepherd has met all of their needs and now they are able to relax and rest.

The Gardner speaks to me and tells me that people are a lot like sheep and he begins to teach me about sheep. He says, “Did you know that sheep require more care than any other livestock?” “Paula, I want you to know that you also require a lot of care.” I reply, “Yes Master, I know I do because my husband always tells me I am high maintenance! Jesus smiles. He then tells me that sheep are fearful and timid. Sheep are stubborn and do lots of stupid things. Sheep have many bad habits. They run off and get lost and they fall down and cannot get up by themselves. Sheep are helpless animals when it comes to caring for themselves.

The Master Gardner speaks and says, “My sweet daughter, do you see any similarities between you and sheep?” I do not like that question! I frown, I deny the accusation, and I try to talk to him about my friend who has all of those characteristics.

The Master simply moves the conversation back to me and says. “Paula, you need my care. You need REDIRECTION. Let me take your fears, your friction, your torment, and provide for you all that you hunger for deep within your spirit.” He reminds me that life is hard and that he stands ready to help me with all things. The Master says, “Allow me to lead you to the green pastures that are beside the still waters.” “Paula, you need to get alone. You need to get rid of distractions. I want to provide a place for you to relax, soak up nature, meditate on scripture, listen to soft worship music and speak to me about your wants and desires. I want you to tell me what is bothering you. Confide in me what it is that you fear, where is the friction in your life, what torments you and what are you hungering for?”

I look a little to the right side of the pasture and I see a beautiful stream. The waters are clear, still, and look cool and refreshing. The Master tells me that the still waters are important too because they will relax and refresh you. I am completely wowed by this scene. Trust me when I say, this looked to me like the spa of all spas! The Master informs me that I need to leave the garden and check in to the “Green Pasture Inn – Still Water Spa” This is just what the doctor ordered because I know that when I leave I will be look’n good and feel’n fine!

I begin to take a hard look at my life. I have to admit that it has been rather stressful lately. I have been a little up tight. My responses to others have been less than acceptable. I am tired all the time and feel the need for rest. My mind is cluttered with dates, appointments, and responsibilities. I feel depleted. Yes indeed, the spa sounds great!

While leaning on the fence I begin to dream. Yes, I will go to the inn and when I arrive I will head straight for the “Still Waters Spa.” I will allow the Shepherd to massage my heart until all the tension, stress and anxiety leaves my body. I will release my fears and receive the Shepherd’s peace. I will confide to him my hurt and pain and receive his comfort. I will confess my sin and experience his forgiveness and grace. This will be a fantastic place where I can read and pray and it will be quiet enough that I can actually hear God whisper amazing truth in my ears and I will feel his arms of love and comfort. Maybe the “Green Pasture Inn” will have a gentle rippling brook running beside it and perhaps I will be able to hear it from my window. I will enjoy a long soak in a bubble bath and then I will take a greatly needed nap. I will relax in the arms of Jesus and fall asleep listening to the sound of a gentle rain hitting the tin roof of the inn.

Now I am wondering, does God enforce this rest in my life? I would like to suggest that if I need to lie down and I refuse to lie down, this scripture says he makes me lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.” I think that God would rather that I lie down of my own free will, because I love Him and I desire to be in His presence. Yet, I believe that my Shepherd loves me enough to insist that I lie down so that he can get my attention and lead me to still waters so that he can provide for me what my soul needs. If I am going to mature in my Christian life I must allow God to redirect my life often so that I do not loose sight of what is really important in my life. Sometimes God brings me to a place of his enforced rest and yet, I still resist and seem to be unable to recognize that this unwanted change in my life could be an opportunity for me to draw near to my Shepherd.


What is going on in your life right now?

Do you feel stress or peace?

Do you think you could benefit from a trip to the “Green Pasture Inn and the Still Waters Spa?”

Where do you most need redirection in you life?


Dear Jesus,

Life has noisy, powerful, rushing rivers with deep and dangerous currents. The roads I travel are rough and full of pot holes. The events of life can throw me into a state of fear and panic in a heartbeat. There are so many sad and upsetting things that happen in life because we all live in a sinful world. If we are not affected at the moment we soon will be. All I have to do is look around and I see pain and suffering in the lives of many of my friends and loved ones. Frankly God, this is life outside of the pasture and away from the still waters. This is why I am desperate for a Shepherd. God, I need a good shepherd that will take care of me and spend time with me redirecting my life. I am in frequent need of being repaired, redirected, and refreshed. Thank you Jesus, that you are that Good Shepherd in my life. Show me the path that you want me to follow.

In Your Name I Pray. Amen