Completely Calm


Before Jesus saved us it is a biblical truth that we were following the course of the world and the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). Psalm 1 shows us this truth as well. We walked according to the counsel of the wicked, which then caused us to stand in the way of sinners and finally to sit in the seat of scoffers. The enemy was our shepherd, our master.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:4-5). Jesus is now our Good Shepherd. We were lost, and our loving Shepherd went looking for us and found us. He rescued us from danger and brought us into His flock. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

We were lost and now we are found; blind and now we see; deaf and now we hear; dead and now we live in Christ. What will our RESPONSE be to the amazing gift of our salvation?

We are to listen to our Shepherd’s voice in His Word and follow Him humbly by grace through faith. But how do we do this?

There is one point the Lord continues to bring to my mind from our last study, Fearless. It’s from the story in Genesis 45. Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery. There was a famine in the land, and they had to go to Egypt to get food, and Pharaoh had put Joseph in charge, but the brothers didn’t recognize him. When he revealed himself to them it says, “But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence” (Gen. 45:3b). I looked up the word “dismayed” and found that the English definition means “agitation of mind; to break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble; dishearten thoroughly.” They were terrified, I am sure, because Joseph knew they had tried to kill him, and they knew they were guilty and deserving of punishment.

But the next verse is so beautiful, pointing us forward to the mercy and grace that was to come through Jesus! “So Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come near to me, please'” (Gen. 45:4). “Come near…” These are the words I continue to hear.

I have lived my whole life in fear. Fear of everything. Fear of man, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of pain, fear of being out of control, fear of intimacy, etc. Because of this fear I can see how I have built walls of self-protection around my heart. In my mind’s eye I have this picture of a tortoise (because I’m slow) always retreating and withdrawing into my protective shell. And my Shepherd continues to call me to “come near.” To come out of the darkness and into the light of His love.

Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. (Song of Sol. 2:10-11)

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. (Matt. 11:28-30)

I dearly loved the image of the frightened child who calls out to her parent in the night when the thunderstorm comes. Visuals are so helpful for us to be able to see and grasp onto truths that we otherwise lose hold of, especially in the heat of battle! And what happens when the parent comes to the child’s room and gathers the child in their arms, bringing them close to their heart, drawing them near? The child is comforted, and as Laurie said, becomes, “completely calm.” Why? Because the child trusts her parent and believes her parent loves her.

I confess to you that I am not “completely calm.” I confess to you that I am not even sort of calm. The Lord has been showing me these past few months (maybe even the past year) that I live in fear. I walk around anxious and worried. I live “dismayed” with “agitation of mind.” Our Shepherd doesn’t want us to live this way. He wants me to come near, to trust Him, to rest in His arms and be completely calm.

Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Josh. 1:9)

Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid. (Matt. 14:27)

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. (Psa. 139:5)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psa. 23:4)

If our response is to come near and to follow, how do we do that? Jesus is the Living Word. We draw near when we spend time with Him in His Word. His Word is the green pasture. We feed on it and shelter in it. His Word is the still water. We find our refreshment there and wash ourselves in the water of His Word.

As children, we purposefully sit at the feet of our Father. Instead of walking and standing first, which is what we used to do, we first take time in the mornings to sit. Sit in His Word. Be intentional. Take in the truth. Receive it, feast upon it, meditate on it, choose to believe it by faith, and take it to our hearts and apply it. Then, we can stand in His strength. Then we can walk in His strength by His grace. Not alone, but with the Spirit and in the Spirit. Our Shepherd never leaves us. He is with us by His Spirit. Praise God! We are never alone!

Ultimately, I am so thankful that all the Lord commands us to do, He provides and undertakes for us. He tells me to come near and yet He is the One who brings me near. “Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts!” (Psa. 65:4a).

And what will one day be the result as we continue by grace through faith following our Shepherd? “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isa. 26:3).

The Lord is our Shepherd. We shall not be in want but instead be completely calm.

Learning to Live in the Garden of Grace

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