Lessons to Learn

He Maketh Me to Lie Down: When God Gives Us Rest

This is a picture of a sheep on a green pasture with mountains in the background to represent the Bible verse "He maketh me to lie down."

Psalm 23 is one of the most beloved Psalms. It’s the one where David compares the Lord to a Shepherd who always takes care of His sheep. But there is one line in the Psalm that stood out to me recently, one I hadn’t really thought about much before. Psalm 23:2a says, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” Why would God have to MAKE anybody rest? It sounds silly until God puts your ministry or passion on a brief hold for His timing. Then it can be frustrating – and that’s exactly where I was this week. I thought I was ready to move forward, but God insisted that I stop and rest. With extra time on my hands, I baked some cookies. That’s when I learned a lesson about the value of a good rest.

He Maketh Me to Lie Down

My passion is writing. My ministry is this blog. For over three years now, I have been listening for the leading of the Holy Spirit to know what to write each week. And each and every week, with just a few exceptions, an idea has come through loud and clear. That is, until recently. In the past few weeks, God has slowed down from giving me a blog weekly to biweekly. Without belaboring the point, let’s just say that it has been painful for me. The members of my “prayer team,” also known as the brothers and sisters at my church who encourage and pray for me, keep asking. “Has God given you a new blog?” And then I have to say it again. “Not yet. Please keep praying.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not in trouble (like the enemy keeps trying to tell me and might be telling you too). God is still speaking to me in other areas of my life. In fact, I’m even getting the definite message WHY He has slowed down on the blogs. He’s giving me rest. (I imagine Him out there on the green pasture with me, His stubborn sheep, pointing resolutely to the ground.) As a result, I have been trying to use the extra time to rest my mind and to draw closer to Him, straining for the very moment He decides my rest is done.

Cookies Also Need to Rest

Since I’m a teacher and school ended last week, I have even more time on my hands. I decided to make my husband’s favorite cookies: koulourikia. They are a Greek butter cookie that must be rolled and shaped. When I finished mixing the last of the flour into the dough, I looked back at the recipe for the next step. “Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.” The dough needed to chill so the gluten would relax, the fat would firm up, and the dough would be a lot easier to roll. 

Then it hit me. What things was God relaxing and firming in me during my time of rest? How much easier will I be to handle? How much better will I roll? God only knows, but it did make me feel a little better. God isn’t making something as insignificant as a cookie. He’s making me into a new creation – and you too! He knows just the right recipe and all the steps it will take for us to come out just right for Him to use us in His kingdom.

God’s Timing Is Always Perfect

Sometimes even when we think we’re ready to move, God “maketh us to lie down.” Maybe we have some things to learn. Maybe He is preparing us for a time when we won’t be able to rest for a while. Whatever the case, God’s timing is always best. He knows just what we need, and we can trust Him.

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