He makes me lie down in green pastures. Psalm 23:2a
It affects 70 million Americans and leads to 38,000 deaths per year in the US. The condition costs the US $70 billion annually in worth of productivity. Studies show the 64% of teens blame it for poor school performance. Researchers say the most severe cases occur between ages 30 and 40. One study suggests it impacts 50% of our senior citizens. Any idea what causes this?
Drug abuse? Divorce? Long church services? Nope, insomnia. American’s can’t get enough sleep. I’ve always considered sleep a luxury. I even scoffed at people with a problem sleeping. But, recently I went to bed closed my eyes and nothing happened. I didn’t fall asleep. Rather that slowing down, my mind kicked into high gear. Thousands of thoughts rushed at me and before I knew if midnight had come and gone. I wandered into the kitchen for a snack, went back to bed and started thinking about people. What were they doing? Finally, as morning approached I fell asleep. Along with 70 million other Americans.
Many of us with too much work and/or too little sleep pick up that duffle bag of weariness to drag around. It’s tiring! Our minds and bodies are tired. And if our bodies are tired, chances are nearly 1/3 of the population is dosing off at work, napping through class or sleeping behind the wheel.
The only other creature that has trouble sleeping is … sheep! It’s true, sheep can’t sleep. Everything must be just right. No predators, tension in the flock, bugs in the air or hunger in the belly. Everything has to be calm.
Unfortunately, they can’t find that on their own. They need a shepherd to lead them and help them lie down in green pastures. Without a shepherd they can’t rest. And without a shepherd, neither can we.
Notice how David wrote HE makes me lie down in green pastures. David’s referring to the shepherd and it’s our job to follow the shepherd in order that we’ll be able to rest.
Sometimes life can get so loud that we forget to shut it down. Maybe that’s why God made such a big deal about rest in the Ten Commandments. He knows us well! For us to be healthy, we must rest. Slow down, He will bring rest to your mind, to your body and soul. He will lead you to green pastures.
Can you imagine the satisfaction in our Shepherd’s heart when he sees His sheep rest? This pasture is His gift of divine mercy in a rocky world. That’s where we can find the rest we seek.