“Lord you are our shepherd, we will lack for no good thing, for you take us to the pastures that are green, we lay beside still waters, bring refreshing to our souls, as you guide us in the paths that make us free, lead on…”
This song, from the first time I heard it in church, has brought tears to my eyes and a deep longing, of “Oh yes please Lord”.
It’s been an interesting journey this past semester of school. I have been busier than perhaps I have ever been: a couple of intense classes at school, more youth group involvement than ever previously, friend stuff. I should be worn out and exhausted (and sure, I look forward to several days of simply luxuriously reading fiction when break starts in a week – George MacDonald, J.K. Rawlings, and Robin McKinley here I come) but I am still able to function and move. This should not be so. I should be an emotional basket case. Weird.
God has been leading.
One of the things that has made this semester intense is the fact that I have been doing a bit of wrestling with God. Sometime this semester, I wrote about how I think God invites us to wrestle with Him about various weak points or needs in our lives. Well, I have been wrestling with the idea of God’s goodness, pleading with Him to show me He is good. I mean, sure, I believe He is good. But I have seen His work enough, I have been around Christians and the church long enough, to understand that “good” does not translate into God wanting me to be happy, or to have everything I want, or any such silliness as that. And so, I have clung to the exact opposite. That God’s goodness means that God will only shape me in misery, pain, and through general hardship.
Sometime in September I asked God to help me believe that He can use happy times to teach and mold as well. That God’s goodness CAN encompass laughter, delight, and soul-comfort along with the pain that I already know about and seem to grip so tightly.
I’m not there yet. I still mostly only look for His goodness in the pain happening in my life. I’m still deeply longing for the fullest understanding of “good”– because it is true. Sure, the American church does not teach the hard part of God’s goodness enough, and they are robbing their members of the deeper understanding of God because of this. However, to only believe God works through the hard stuff, like I do, means I am missing out in who God is as well.
So I’m wrestling. I’m wrestling to believe the 23rd Psalm. I long, so deeply, to be led into green pastures.
And yet, as I look at my life, at my craziness, and I notice the peace within me despite everything, I realize He has been doing just that. If you read Psalms 46, you read a battle song, full of the Lord doing battle, and at the end, He tells us to simply Be Still and abide in Him. Be Still amidst the chaos of holidays, of family, of drama, of shopping, of church. God will do battle for you (through you). He is good – all the painful, wondrous, complicated, intricate implications of that word.
Let Him lead you into the green pastures…just know you have to actually use your feet to walk into said pasture. And know that often the green pasture is surrounded by Only-God-Knows-What Chaos. And you will be asked to help Him. Our God is a God of the peaceful spirit actively participating in the good life God has given us.
Also – if you haven’t yet – go read the update under the Dressember tab. I’m wearing dresses again for the month of December.
If you want to support me, but not necessarily wear a dress yourself, feel free to give here, to help people rescue those who are enslaved.