After being discharged from the hospital, my home recovery has been quite slow. The most frustrating part has been the intense cranial pressure and headaches after the spinal tap. I only really have relief when I’m lying flat on my back. Though today it’s slightly better.
It’s ironic, really. If you’ll recall from my last blog, the Lord has been telling me to rest for weeks now. Some days, I listened. Other days, not so much.
And so, it came as no surprise last week when the ER doctors admitted me to the hospital — to room #7, on Sunday (the 7th day, the day of rest).
And now that I’m home it seems “rest” is still the enduring message.
This photo is my view from that “resting” (post-lumbar puncture) position. I chuckled to myself just now because the wooden plaque on the wall says, “Be still and know I AM.” (Psalm 46:10)
It’s a reminder of another message the Lord spoke to me recently.
Our pastor, Fr Tom, visited me the other day and gave me the anointing of the sick. He prayed with me, anointed me, and read Psalm 23.
It might be standard protocol, and I’m sure Fr. didn’t know it, but Psalm 23 has been my absolute favorite scripture passage for as long as I can remember. I even had a psalm 23 bracelet as a child and used the beads to memorize and recite the verse.
But, as the Living Word often does, Psalm 23 spoke so much more to me this time, when Father read it.
“The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. He makes me lie down in green pastures…” (Psalm 23:1-2)
I chuckled again. Okay, got it, I’m lying down now… staring out at the greenery around me.
The Psalm continues…
“He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths For His name sake.” (Psalm 23:2-3)
Here, the word “leads” stood out. The Good Shepherd “leads” us to still waters and “leads” us in right paths.
To lead us means to show us - but to ultimately give us the choice whether or not we drink the water or follow in the path.
Earlier in Psalm 23, though, it says God “makes” me lie down in green pastures. It doesn’t say He “leads” me to green pastures. It says He “makes” me lie down.
(I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happened here. )
Anyway, that means to the Shepherd of Souls, lying down is far more important - more vital to our restoration - than these other things.
In fact, lying down is listed first, I imagine, because it’s the necessary first-step. After all, the remaining parts of the Psalm aren’t at all about resting.
No. On the contrary.
Verse four talks about walking through dark times and the presence of evil. Verse five mentions enemies all around.
It’s almost like lying down precedes battle. Which is making me listen a little more closely now. It seems He is saying there are difficult roads ahead that I will need strength for. And so the “call” (no, the “command”) to rest is in preparation for that.
Psalm 23 is not a vacation kind of psalm. Rather, it describes the difficult journey we have to take through this world. And as it turns out, it starts with lying down. With rest.
I think the point is that when we rest in the Lord, when we are “still” and remember that He is God, we journey more safely through the world because we journey more closely with Him.
Then we can proclaim as the Psalm continues, “I fear no evil because your rod and your staff comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:4-5)
This is what happens when we rest in the Lord and drink from His living water. When we take time to be filled and restored. When we quit trying to lead the pack and just lie down. When we finally get out of His way and just let Him take care of us.
And so here I am, Lord. Flat on my back in the green pasture. I’ve stopped fighting it. I’ve begun to drink up.
I know that I will heal in Your time. And at that time, I will have the strength to continue on through the dark valley.
But I will not fear.
“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord my whole life long.” (Psalm 23:6)