Dry Lands and Green Pastures
August 11, 2009 • By Ed Wrather
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures…. - Psalm 23:1-2a NKJV.
O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. - Psalm 63:1 NKJV.
The thrill seekers riding the Invertigo rollercoaster in Santa Clara, California found their thrill lasting a little longer than the planned 70 seconds yesterday. There reportedly was a problem with a lift chain which brought everything to a sudden halt leaving 24 riders just hanging out with their feet dangling. No one was upside down during the wait, but they were either leaning over backward or leaning forward at a severe angle, and it was a very warm day with the temperature in the nineties. Firefighters rescued the riders using a cherry picker one at a time. It only took an hour to rescue the first rider and close to five hours before they were all on the ground. None of the riders indicated that they would want to repeat the rollercoaster ride of their lives any time soon.
Living life as children of God can sometimes be like a rollercoaster ride that comes to a sudden stop. However, it may take years before it starts to move again. Some of the greatest servants of God experienced it. King David experienced life stopping in a good place as in “green pastures” and also in “a dry and thirsty land.” You may have experienced life in both places too. David's experiences were both literal and spiritual. As with David, in whatever place you may find yourself, God will use it to mold and shape you so that you will be more and more conformed to the image of Christ.
The disciples of Jesus spent about three years with Him before His crucifixion and resurrection. It is said of Paul that he had his three years with Jesus too. From the time he was forced to leave Jerusalem and go to the isolation of Tarsus, until Barnabus came to find him again, must have seemed like an eternity. In the quietness of isolation, the apostle Paul received the finishing touches upon his character that he would need to faithfully carry out the missionary journeys, and persevere through the persecution he would face. In the quietness of the isolation, the Lord's still, small voice must have been amplified many times over.
I have only once thought that I heard the Lord speak to me audibly. It was years ago, before I was a pastor, and I was working in the oilfield. I was seeking God's will for my life, praying for Him to bring about His will. I believed then, and know now that He had called me to preach His Word, but why was I not being allowed to do so? It was a dry, hot summer, and I was on a deserted oilfield location putting the finishing touches on an inspection job, while the rest of the crew was at another location. There was no one else there. I was thinking and praying all of these things on that day, which seemed to stretch out forever, like every other day that summer. That was when I heard someone call my name. I only heard one word, just my name. I stopped, and turned in a circle looking for who it was…but there was no one there. One word, but it was enough to sustain me through those times, and into the ministry.
In these days that I am living in now the Lord has made me to lie down in “green pastures.” It is not a perfect place; however, it is a good place that my life is in now. I believe that God may possibly have something more for me, and if so, in His timing it will be revealed when I have been properly prepared for it.
Whether you are in a “dry and thirsty land,” or the Lord has made you to lie “down in green pastures,” it is not a wasted time. He is molding and shaping you for greater service as you come to be more and more like Jesus. Listen for His Voice...