by Susan Sampson
Are you tired of trying? I am. I can hear him say, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mat. 11:28-30). I hear these words, but I can see that I’m still working. Trying to do the right thing. Trying to not make a mistake. Trying to be good. Trying, trying, trying. Trying is not following.
“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. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:1-3). It was such a refreshment to my soul as I heard the Lord speak to my heart through Laurie’s words about Psalm 63, “this is the pasture I led you to in order to care for you and feed you.” Wow. Our perfect and loving Shepherd led us all here! To His Word. This beautiful oasis in the midst of the dry and weary land we are living in. The lush garden, the promised land of His Word. Full of milk and honey. Our daily bread. Life giving, life sustaining.
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live…” (Isaiah 55:1-3a).
I want to follow Jesus. I desperately want Him to be my Beloved. I desperately want to believe that I am His Beloved. We can believe this. We must believe this. It is by faith that we choose to believe God’s words are truth. We must put our doubts to death once and for all. Crucify them. “Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Tim. 6:12). God’s Word is truth. It is the Lord’s own words to us. His voice.
I don’t want to be shepherded anymore by my feelings. Christ alone leads me to green pastures. He is the Good Shepherd. He is our Righteousness. He is love. Feelings lead us to darkness and despair. It is Christ who rescued us from the dominion of this darkness. Lord, help me to repent and follow you into the light. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14).
The Lord shepherds us by His Word, His Spirit, the Body of Christ, and through prayer. Let’s choose today whom we will serve; whom we will follow. Let us follow our Good Shepherd each and every day to the pasture of His Word in Psalm 63.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).
I want to be free. I want to fall in love again with my Lord.
Lord, meet each of us right where we are. Help our unbelief. Draw near to us in oneness as we draw near to you this semester. Enable us by your grace to lay everything down at the foot of the cross in absolute surrender. Compel us by your love to the shadow of your wings where we can sing for joy.