All Tied Down
September 12, 2003 • By Ed Wrather
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. - The 23rd Psalm.
While hospitalized, I found myself facing a new situation. The last time I had been in the hospital it had been 43 years ago when I was ten years old, and my appendix was removed. It was a different world then with sheets between the beds and one bathroom at the end of a large ward of beds. I do remember though that I enjoyed the food with fruit juices and my uncle brought me a comic book. In hospitals now they have these six sticky round things they stick on your chest and hookup wires to them - it's like having a continual EKG. Those wires all flowed off to the right, as did the tubes for the blood pressure cuff; and the oxygen level placed on my right finger, or taped on as it sometimes was done. On my left side was a portal where IV fluids were dripped into my blood. There was about three feet of leeway for me to stand and move on my left side, which was enough to make it to a potty chair. My options for movement were more limited than they had ever been in my life.
The words of the 23rd Psalm flow with words of comfort and peace which we will never outgrow the need of hearing. I have always loved verse two, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.” “He makes me lie down….” The shepherd would bring his sheep into a place of good pasture and would make them stay in that good place. The making of the sheep to stay where there was good food to eat, and still water to drink was for their benefit. However, as I have been told many times, sheep are not very intelligent. If the shepherd did not make them stay in the place where they had protection, food, and water the sheep would have wandered off. It was for their benefit. Most likely it was hard for the sheep to understand.
It was hard for me to comprehend the inability to move, but it was for my benefit. It benefited me in that life-giving medicines flowed into my body, and that the condition of my body could be constantly monitored. If it had been up to me, I would have just unplugged everything and walked out; but I was too weak, and I knew it would only delay my healing. Like the sheep, I was made to lie down in a place of “green pastures” and “still waters.” Like the shepherd of sheep, the Great Shepherd was constantly watching and present the entire time. I think I had been sick for more than a year, and had not realized it. It was slowly growing worse until I had an acute attack. It could have been much worse. I am thankful for a time of “green pastures” and “still waters” that have helped to bring healing and renewed life to my body.
Are you all tied down? You may not be tied down physically with wires and tubes as I was - it may be something else. I will leave that for you to consider in your own life, but if you are tied down, it may be for your benefit. The Great Shepherd may have reached down, and given you “green pastures” and “still waters” even though you did not want them. But it is for your benefit. It is because He loves you and is caring for you. There may come a time when He leads you on to new pastures and new waters - until then, remember you do have a Shepherd, and He loves you. Can you feel your soul being restored? I can feel my soul being restored as the Great Shepherd breathes in new life.