“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” (Ps 23:2-3a NIV)
We had just arrived in Lugano, a town in Southern Switzerland. Italian is the language of choice in this part of Switzerland, and with its incredibly warm summers, its beautiful lake, along with the numerous tourists and celebrities, one could easily see why it earned the nickname of “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”.
However, despite the fact that Lugano is described as being so quaint, we were having difficulty fully appreciating its charm. You see, Lugano is also a busy town, with plenty of noisy traffic, and vendors everywhere, all trying to sell their wares. It wasn’t until we entered the Parco Civico, a beautiful park right at the edge of Lake Lugano, that this all changed.
As soon as we stepped into the park, it was as if we were transported to another world. The traffic noise was gone, as was the voices of the numerous vendors. Instead of pollution, we were surrounded by utmost beauty. Swans enjoyed bathing in the lake as they kept an eye on their youngsters, and fellow tourists were almost reverent as they walked the paths. They, too, felt the difference in this other-worldly corner of Lugano. Surrounded by total peace and calm, we could literally “lie down” in its many “green pastures” and enjoy the “quiet waters” beside us. It certainly restored our souls, especially since we could now feel God’s presence in our midst.
Even though we experienced God so vividly there, we can experience Him fully wherever we are. No matter what our circumstances, we can enter this other-worldly spot and find utmost peace. All simply by following Jesus’ advice: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28 NIV).
I giggle when I think of that mom in the Old Western days, who had a bunch of kids screaming around her home. Whenever she wanted to experience God’s presence, she would just put her apron over her head and peace would surround her.
Notice the benefits of such peace, as recorded in Psalms 23:2-3a:
1. “Lie down” — Another way to say “rest” and “relief”.
2. “Green pastures” — Food for sheep. Another way to say that all of our needs will be met, both physically and spiritually.
3. “Quite waters” — To relieve our inner thirst. These waters are quiet because in those moments we can hear His voice more clearly.
4. “He restores my soul”: Too often we think there is no rest for the wicked, and we include ourselves in with that bunch. Restoration of our inner souls is possible however, not by our own might, but by His!
In other words, to experience God fully, we need to let go of our tendency to be in control, and we need to start enjoying His peaceful guidance. It’s the only way to be revigorated out of our shoes!
Come with me in this magical garden where rest is assured. It’s an experience out of this world! Enjoy!
(To access the entire “Devotions From the Psalms” devotional series, please click here.)
(To access the entire “Only in Jesus” devotional series, please click here.)