At the waters edge
August 28, 2021
Update on Pastor Joe. Chemo has been delayed. Joe is on a break for maybe five or six weeks. The last CT Scan showed no visible impact on the cancer and some possible flakes in some areas of fluid which can possibly be drained. He will receive a PET Scan in about 6 weeks to show areas impacted by cancer. Mayo and GF will then decide what options can be taken. Joe was both relieved and concerned that treatments would be delayed. The present chemo will take approximately five to six weeks to dissipate. Joe’s body desperately needs rest.
It is difficult. I have knowledge about who God is and how he works. It is one thing to have knowledge about God, and another thing to be emotionally secure in my trust. I know that God is working his perfect plan for us. We are finite, He is infinite. We know only in part Gods wisdom and plan.
I read the following thoughts on the 23rd Psalm, and have added my own thoughts to it in parenthsis.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Psalm 23:1-3
Sheep have to be made to lie down. And they only do so when they feel secure. Apparently a sheep is capable of wearing itself out. It needs someone to say, "Take a break, buddy." We're not so different. And Jesus knows that's true about us. That's why he says that he will be our shepherd. He will make sure that we lack nothing....including rest. (Rest and worry are not compatible, like I said it can be difficult).
The verse says that the shepherd has the sheep lie down in "green pastures." What does a green pasture mean to a sheep? It means its needs are going to be met. The sheep is not worrying about going hungry. God wants us to live that way, too. And not just when it comes to our physical needs but also those needs in our heart as well. He says, "Lie down, daughter. I'm going to take care of your needs. You can stop striving. Rest
He also leads us to "quiet waters..." Sheep need water that's quiet in order to be able to quench their thirst. They don't want to drink from raging rivers or stand on shores with crashing waves. We also need still places to be refreshed. Our schedules may feel like a tsunami is coming toward us, yet our Shepherd says that he has "quiet waters" for us to drink from instead.
Our role in all of this is to choose to be led by our Shepherd and not by our society. (There are so many voices out there). He doesn't want to force you to go through life without nourishment and refreshment. If you're exhausted and feel like you're just "doing what you have to do" then it's time to pause and see whose lead you're following.
A full schedule and an empty heart is a sure sign that it's time to draw closer to the Shepherd again. He has promised that you will lack nothing.
Our Shepherd knows this about sheep: they are prone to stray. They don't even mean to do so a lot of the time. They get distracted by what looks good. (My distractions are mainly fear and worry). This can end up taking a very long path which wears me out.
If that's happened to you, it's okay to ask the Shepherd to come get you and bring you home. Tell him your heart is hungry and thirsty (and very worried). Tell him you need to lie down (take a nap!). Tell him your soul needs to be restored. You're not going to be in trouble. Shepherds understand sheep. Yours already knows where you are and what you've been through, and it brings him joy to care for you!
This morning I was reminded of something. Thinking about the parting of the Red Sea. God neither drained or took out all the water from the sea to help the Israelites get to their destination. He parted the sea (holding the water back) so they could cross in safety. Joe has a purpose (a calling) by God on his life. God will hold back the cancer like the waves, and will provide both the strength and ability for him to accomplish EVERYTHING he is meant to accomplish on this earth. That is a promise!