I had the privilege of filling in on keys for the base Chapel service last Sunday (and for the next few weeks). The gentleman choosing music picked a song I hadn’t heard before, and it has a bit of a timing shift that makes it non-standard… so I needed to practice more than usual.
This past week, my daughter married her fiancé, and this coming week, she moves back to the States with him in preparation for his enlistment in the Air Force. She’s our oldest child, so this is a huge transition for Mom and me.
The message of this song really ministered to me in the midst of the struggles of accepting drastic changes, and all the bittersweet mixture of celebration for their love and separation from someone we love.
The waves, the wind, and all the storm of emotion within me–all of these still know His name, and know to fall silent when He commands “Peace, be still.”
Through it all, because of Him, it is well with my soul.
Whatever your storm, I hope this ministers to you as it did to me.
He’s playing Minecraft, which is essentially a giant Lego set on the computer or XBox.
He has built a sky castle hovering above the clouds, with elaborate towers, a church (with a stained-glass window), and a glowstone cross in the distance.
Then he set up an array of iron golems “prepped for war” like Qin Shi Huang’s stone warriors in ancient China. By making a T of iron blocks and placing a pumpkin atop it, you get a moving iron golem to defend you against monsters.
About three months ago, he came home with his little brother (who is 8), and they were raving about playing Minecraft at their friends’ house.
“Can we get it? Can we get it? It’s $20.”
“You mean you were actually playing with your little brother for the last two hours instead of fighting with him?”
Welcome back to God is the One, taken from the verses of Psalm 23.
Verse 2: He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
God is the One who gives me rest.
He makes me lie down. When everything else has me going constantly, God would have me stop and find a quiet place, lie down and stay awhile. I’ve got work responsibilities that compete with each other and make demands on off-duty time. I’ve got a wife that I want to spend time with in order to maintain our relationship. I also have four kids, and each of them are unique individuals with different needs. We have a great church that we want to cooperate with, so we’re involved in the music ministry. They’ve got weekly activities we want to participate in, too. But we’re learning about writing, so we’ve joined a writing group and a monthly critique group. And that’s not even counting all the video games!
God says, “Okay, stop. Take a minute and catch your breath. Rest.” That’s what Sabbath means. Rest is so important that God commanded His people to set aside an entire day for it. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, sometimes you need to take time to recover.
God is the One who feeds me.
He puts me in green pastures. He provides me with sustenance. The food He gives is plentiful – there are whole pastures here. The food He gives is fresh and vibrant, green with abundant life. God gives the good stuff.
Consider references like Jesus speaking of doing His Father’s will as food (John 4) and David’s rejoicing in the value and power of God’s Word as his source of life (Psalm 119). What God provides may not always look like it will strengthen us or fill us up. Jesus ended up ministering at the well when all He wanted was a drink. But He found renewed energy, because He had food His disciples knew not of – doing the work of the Father.
I’ll even throw out there that God’s food is 100% all natural and organic. There’s no quick-growth hormone that turns us from spiritual babies into the next Billy Graham or Matt Redman. There’s no short-cut, no secret formula, no special ingredient that only the “in-crowd” knows about. Like the natural, a healthy spiritual diet means discipline, time, and effort. It means making good decisions day by day.
He’ll lead us there and provide the meal.
It’s up to us to eat.
God is the One who leads me.
He leads me. I remember following my father or my brother whenever we had a deep snow. I would always try to step in their footprints in order to avoid getting snow in my shoes or boots. They carved a path for me to follow.And so it is with God. There’s nowhere we find ourselves that He hasn’t gone before us preparing the way. It’s like the Footsteps poem, in reverse. Step by step, we follow His lead, finding His footprints and trying (and often failing) to follow.
My relationship with my father and brother made it easy to follow them. I knew they knew where they were going. I trusted that I wanted to be wherever they were going, and I knew I wanted to be with them along the way. So it is with God. He’s leading, and He’s proven Himself faithful before. It’s my choice whether I’m going to trust Him with where we’re headed. It’s my choice whether I’m going to respond to His call to follow.
My seven year old tries to follow his older brother and sister all the time, and they immediately resist. “Get out of my room. Go away. Go play with your friends.” My brother sometimes felt the same way with me when I’d follow him. Rest assured, this is not the way it is with God. He leads, and He desires that we follow. He desires intimacy, but that’s a two-way street.
God is the One who brings peace.
He leads me to a place of stillness. In all the storm and chaos of the world around me, God is the One who can say, “Peace, be still!”
Sometimes this happens in the middle of the crisis. He supernaturally brings the answer to my prayer, the solution to my problem, and “immediately” the winds and waves cease. Sometimes, this happens in the natural order, and He leads me through the storm to a place of stillness in the aftermath. There’s not always a divine rescue. There is always a divine reassurance. “I am with you always. Be not afraid.”
God is the One who satisfies thirst.
Nothing quenches thirst like water. All the other junk we drink still requires water to process, despite Coca-Cola’s efforts to convince customers otherwise. Sure, some things are less detrimental to your hydration than others, but nothing’s as good as water.
Other psalmists wrote about the longing in our hearts for God being “as the deer panting for the water” (Psalm 42:1). Then they ask the question, “When can I come stand in the presence of God?” (v.2). But it’s God who leads us, God who brings us to the place that satisfies our need and our desire.
“Plain old boring water” may not be the thing we want right now or the thing we like the most, but God provides us with what will accomplish His purpose in us. He has given us “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
God is the One who leads me to a place of peace and rest where I am well fed and my thirst is satisfied.
The home of David M. Williamson, writer of fantasy, sci-fi, short stories, and cultural rants.