In the Christian’s life there is no substitute for the keen awareness that my Shepherd is nearby. There is nothing like Christ’s presence to dispel the fear, the panic, the terror of the unknown.
We live a most uncertain life. Any hour can bring disaster, danger and distress from unknown quarters. Life is full of hazards. No one can tell what a day will produce in new trouble. We live either in a sense of anxiety, fear and foreboding, or in the sense of quiet rest, which is it?
Generally it is the “unknown,” the “unexpected,” that produces the greatest panic. It is in the grip of fear that most of us are unable to cope with the cruel circumstances and harsh complexities of life. We feel they are foes which endanger out tranquility. Often our first impulse is simply to get up and like sheep to run from them. Then in the midst of our misfortunes there suddenly comes the awareness that He, the Christ, the Good Shepherd is there. It makes all the difference. His presence in the picture throws a different light on the whole scene. Suddenly things are not half so black, nor nearly so terrifying. The outlook changes and there is hope. I find myself delivered from fear. Rest returns and I can relax.
This has come to me again and again as I grow older. It is the knowledge that my master, my Friend, My Owner has things under control even when they may appear calamitous. This gives me great consolation, repose and rest. “Now I lay me down in peace and sleep, for You God are keeping me.” It is the special work of God’s gracious Spirit to convey this sense of the Christ to our fearful hearts. He comes quietly to reassure us the Christ Himself is aware of our dilemma and deeply involved in it with us.
And it is in fact in this assurance that we rest and relax. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). The idea of a sound mind is that of a mind at ease – at peace – not perturbed or harassed or obsessed with fear and foreboding for the future. “I will both lay me down in peace and sleep: for you, Lord, only make me dwell in safety.”
What do you think?
Thoughts from reading “He Maketh Me to Lie Down in Green Pastures” by Phillip Keller (A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23).