Green Pastures vs Speed Bumps
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. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 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 overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:1-6 NIV
Wouldn’t you love if someone could make you lie down in a green pasture and lead you beside quiet waters with the sun up above? It sounds so serene. I can picture this calmness in my mind but it does not seem realistic in the crazy, hurried life I live. To make matters even more complicated anybody that knows me knows how I love to have everything planned and detailed to the T. (I don’t usually allow myself to just relax.) I love to plan and have everything under control (or at least think I do- LOL.) This drives some people crazy.
Funny thing- it does not matter how much planning I do, my plans don’t always work out as expected. I then need to follow a detour or endure a speed bump along the way. Long ago I heard someone say, “We make plans and God sits back and laughs.” I am not quite sure God is actually sitting back laughing but on the contrary I know he has positioned a speed bump in my life.
Many of those detours and speed bumps in my life seem to be a struggle. (They are like the frequent charley horses that seem to come out of nowhere and wake me with such severe pain. I know they won’t last but they don’t go away fast enough either. I know I will get through it, yet I scramble for a solution and try other ways to cope with the situation.)
Speed bumps are often viewed in a negative light. They are disguised in a variety of shapes and sizes. They affect our choices and decisions. They can be an unexpected health issue, a traffic ticket, a pink slip at work, standing up for what is right, or may even be unexpected expenses. Speed bumps also occur in scheduling, relationships, living situations, and travel arrangements. They are just part of day-to-day living. We all have speed bumps in our lives.
On the flip side, there is a great purpose to speed bumps. Speed bumps help us stay safe. They slow us down to protect and allow us to continue forward on our journey more responsibly. They get us off that fast lane. Speed bumps should not be viewed in a negative light. They are never installed with intentions to annoy or even distract. They allow us to focus on and prioritize what should be important. They only cross the road we were originally barreling through (sometime mindlessly.)
The speed bumps in my life do the same thing. They allow me to slow down, focus, assess exactly where I am at that moment, and then more fully rely on Him. The speed bump is an abrupt reminder that I am not in control and serves as an instant realization there is a better solution. Believe it or not those speed bumps are the green pastures! He has led me there!
At just his perfect timing, Christ, as my shepherd, knows exactly what is best for me and allows me to glean from his direction. He knows when I am ready for the speed bump and when I can grow through them. He allows the speed bumps in my path and then offers himself as still water. It will be through Him that we are cleansed and refreshed. Speed bumps occur daily in our lives. We just have to view them differently. At first glance we may not consider them to be a blessing in our hurried, stressful life but if we look more closely, daily we are made to lie down in those green pastures and led by the still waters with the SON up above.