Seeds remain dormant until the conditions are right for germination. The earth has the right conditions for life to exist. Under the right conditions, students learn, innovate, and excel. Workplaces become places of encouragement, growth, and success given the right conditions. People can be generous and compassionate under the right conditions. The term “the right conditions” refers to these and many other situations that create an outcome. Whether the outcome is good or bad, there are specific conditions that ultimately lead to a result.
David tells us in Psalm 23 that the Lord creates the right conditions for our souls to be at rest. “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.” In Hebrew, the word “makes” means that He creates the right conditions for us. Basically, our Shepherd cares so much for us that He literally creates the perfect conditions for us to find rest in Him. His rest is not forced; it is lovingly laid out in front of us … all we must do is accept it.
Resting in Him does not mean relaxing or taking a day off to sleep in. It is about deliberately focusing our attention on the Shepherd, the one that creates the conditions for rest. Just as sheep need to be free from fear, aggravation, and hunger, we need that as well. It is not about trying to find places and ways to escape fear or aggravation; rather, it is realizing that He provides all we need even in the midst of the chaos. We can rest in the knowledge that He is in control and will keep us safe. This can only come from our time spent with Him reading His word and building a relationship with Him. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Our God, our Shepherd, is our protector and we can rest in knowing He is holding us.
If we refuse to rest, we will not be able to love those around us as God would have us love them. When we are tired, stressed, drained, and exhausted, we are often at our worst and vulnerable to sin. We can become judgmental and less likely to listen to those around us. We may also start to focus on our differences and then operate out of emotion. However, when we find rest in our Shepherd, we can be at our best and take advantage of the opportunity in front of us to love others as Christ loves them. There is power in a community of believers working together for a common purpose in unity, despite our differences. Our unity becomes a light to a world struggling in darkness.
Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, offers us restoration through rest. Even with all that is going on in our world and in our lives, He has not left or forgotten us. In fact, He has set up all the right conditions for us to experience His rest.
THIS WEEK: Spend time with the Good Shepherd this week resting. Read His word and allow it to feed your soul, journal your thoughts on how He keeps you safe, and rest … knowing that He is in control. He wants to restore your soul. The conditions are right.