On October 14, 2018, I lost my dad. He was 88 years old and was in terrible pain. Although we feel a sense of relief that he is no longer suffering, the sorrow is still there. I’m sure many of you understand this from personal experience.
What followed was a flurry of activity and distraction. The next week, I was busy with funeral arrangements, the visitation and funeral service, answering condolence messages on Facebook, reading condolence cards, and speaking to many people who stopped by my room to say they were sorry and ask how I was doing. Each day seemed to slip by without prayer and scripture, and this was a time I really needed it. By the weekend, I felt empty. My desert-like heart needed to be watered by God’s love and comfort.
Luke 8: 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
I was choked, overwhelmed and numb. After all, I had visited with this man almost every day for the last year and a half while he slowly declined in health and dementia. After he spent most of his lifetime taking care of me, I was taking care of him. It was so emotionally painful. Every fiber in my being wanted to take oxycodone so I could blissfully fly away from these feelings if for just an hour or two. Those who have read my blog before know that I’ve struggled with addiction most of my life and that would’ve been a death trap.
Psalm 23: 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. 3 He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
The world gives me worries to distract and discourage me, but the Lord is my shepherd, my protector, my guide. I am not led by the evil spirit of this world when I am reaching out to and following God. When I reach out for help, I am able to lie down in the green pastures of rest, and led to the soothing peace of quiet waters.
God refreshes my soul (v.2). He will always bring me back from my hiatus from him, regardless of how long I’ve been away; and as verse 3 says, even though I walk through the darkest valley, he is still with me! This very Psalm lifted the hovering dark cloud when I was feeling so down and drained.
Matthew 11: 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
I so needed rest. I didn’t need some in-depth Bible study, nor did I need an hour-long prayer each day to prove to God how much I desired to be healed. I needed simple prayers and simple verses to get rest for my soul. I did just that and I was less weary and burdened.
Psalm 51: 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.