The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:25 HCSB
It just occurred to me that maybe when the Lord goes silent, calling me to wait for God – His Voice, His Word, His move – it’s because He’d like me to get quiet, too. My tendency has been to panic and try to figure out what I’ve done wrong so I can repent and He’ll speak to me again. But that fearful response to the hush of God is overridden more quickly these days because I’m just too tired for the full meltdown. It’s actually a relief to get quiet and wait for Him, almost as if that quiet is planned by a sovereign Father—which it always is.
Wait for Him in Green Pastures
Martha and John and the rest of us talk about what it means to be a sheep pretty regularly on this blog, but today I’m meditating on the optimum environment for raising sheep: the pasture. Given the skittish nature of sheep, asking them to thrive in a noisy, hectic, demanding environment seems like the height of folly. Yet in the last hundred years, more and more of us find ourselves in just that kind of place.
God made humans marvelously adaptable. We are capable of normalizing extremes of all kinds, but not with impunity. We are no less marked by our ‘pastures’ than actual sheep. So when God goes quiet and asks me to stop and wait for Him, then I believe it is absolutely necessary—and not just spiritually. My whole being cries for quiet because I’m a sheep, and the Spirit comes to lay me down in green pastures for rest I don’t even know that I need.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul…
This Psalm is so rich and so instructive! First, God tells me who He is (the Lord) and who He is to me (my shepherd). Then He obliterates my fear and anxiety on every ground with a HUGE promise: ‘I shall not want.’ These three things cover my entire life, but He doesn’t stop there. And it is fascinating to me what God, our Good Shepherd, has prioritized next. Rest under His Hand comes first, quiet and tranquility in following His lead come next, and then healing and LIFE are third. There is purpose in this because God does nothing haphazardly.
Wait for Him in tranquility
Quiet, for the body, mind and spirit, was never intended to be an occasional gift; it is a necessity. When I am forced to wait for Him, I am forced to be quiet. I must exercise restraint and discipline to simplify my environment as much as I’m able as I listen for Him. I view so much of the noisy din of my life as normal when it absolutely is not.
This isn’t law, of course. Our Lord is as capable of reaching and shepherding those of His sheep who live soaked in noise and hurry and demand as those who don’t. But there are things that I do to usher noise into my life – internet, TV, music, books, company, going out and about, etc. – and I doubt I’m alone in that. There are always ways that I can turn off incoming noise and demand in my life. And when He asks me to wait for Him, that’s part of how He lays me down.
The world is full of hysterical people whose every word is a frenzied vibration of fear. But as a born-again believer, I am called out of that hysteria – and so are you. We have a Lord and Shepherd who prioritizes quiet. To fight that is to fight Him, and you can’t wait for Him and resist Him at the same time.
May each of us let our Shepherd lay us down in green pastures and lead us beside still waters this weekend, in whatever way He chooses and however that works out!
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7