“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul…” – Psalm 23:2-3 (ESV)
I wonder if you had the same experience as me. As a child, I remember my parents frequently enforcing a “time-out” whenever I’d get into a heated disagreement with my siblings and would not stand to reason. Usually, that meant a set amount of time alone in my room to “think about” where I went wrong and how I could have handled things differently.
I remember always feeling upset over being isolated and not having social interaction with the rest of my family. The stewing would last for several minutes, but would eventually give way to reading a book, playing quietly, or maybe even taking a nap.
My parents knew what was best for me. They knew that a few minutes in isolation was what I needed to calm down and clear my head which somehow always led to a change of heart. The change of heart then opened the door for me to make things right with the sibling or family member that I offended.
The same is true for sheep. Sheep don’t always know what’s best for them. Sheep don’t intuitively know the best places to graze, or when danger lurks around the corner. They need the guidance and provision of their shepherd to thrive as a herd. I suppose that’s why the Psalmist wrote, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” (Psalm 23:2a).
Could it be that COVID-19 is God’s way of making us lie down in green pastures? He knows we need the rest. Our pace of life has reached breakneck speeds.
As talk of “re-opening” our country gains momentum, we must resolve not to go back to “business as usual.” This forced season of stillness is an opportunity for us to hit the reset button. We are the bride of Christ. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Is the Church ready for His return, or have we been chasing after the same things as the world?
In Luke 17:30, Jesus gives this warning “…it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the hour when the Son of Man returns” (NLT). Three verses later, He says “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it” (Luke 17:33).
Now is the time to let go of things that have no eternal value. Let’s not go back to business as usual.
What is the Lord whispering to your heart as you sit in time-out? What is He asking you to change? Is He prompting you to switch jobs or reduce the amount of overtime you’re working to make room for Him? Maybe God’s asking you to let go of a hobby or relationship that’s crowding Him out of your life. Could He be nudging you to limit your commitments and activities so that you can be available for Him? Whatever it is, will you resolve with me not to go back to business as usual?
In the video below, Frances Chan poignantly shares that God’s desire in this current season of stillness is for us to go deeper with the Lover of our souls. Although he’s addressing the Church of Hong Kong, his timely words apply to the Church as a whole.