‘The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.’
~Psalm 23:1-3a, (New American Standard Bible)
Many years ago, my husband was, one might say, ‘in the business’ of automobile restoration. He didn’t do it as a side job for extra income. Nor was it just some nice man-hobby to alleviate boredom. It was actually something my husband took pride in and found great joy in doing.
He would intentionally seek out old, broken down muscle cars. Cars forgotten; unwanted; unusable; cars thought to be beyond repair & abandoned by their owners. These were the vehicles my husband would delight in finding, obtaining and restoring. He put a lot of time, thought, effort, hard work, cost, and yes, even love into returning these machines to their original state of beauty and usefulness.
And more often than not, after his work was completed, family, friends, neighbors and even just curious passersby would remark that these cars actually looked even BETTER than when they first rolled off the assembly line! I could tell by the look on my husband’s face that he was pleased by their accolades, and that he felt the same way about his ‘masterpieces’ as well.
These memories popped into my head after a recent reading of Psalm 23. Odd analogy as this might seem, isn’t this just how the Lord Jesus, our Good Shepherd, works in us?
He intentionally seeks us out; we who are broken, abandoned, forgotten, unwanted, hopeless souls, feeling we are no longer of any use or purpose. Souls emptied of peace, now filled with anxiety. Souls emptied of joy, now filled with sorrow. Dry souls. Angry souls. Unforgiving souls. Souls once brave, now fearful. Souls diseased by sin and doubt, hatred and prejudice, and so much more. Souls in need of healing and restoration.
And it’s our Good Shepherd’s delight to carry us back to His workshop, and with much thought, time, effort, great cost, hard work and most of all, enormous love, to restore us from the inside out.
Not just to our original state of beauty and purpose, but to something much more, much deeper; to someone who will cause others around us to take notice and see us as being even better than we were before! And I’m certain that just HAS TO bring Jesus great joy over us, His masterpieces.
I wonder if you, like I did for years, view Psalm 23 as a psalm of lamentation, generally reserved for reading at someone’s deathbed, or a dirge to be sung at funeral services.
If so, I’d like to challenge you to set aside that view, and to take some time (something we all have an abundance of lately) to read through Psalm 23 with fresh eyes and an open heart. Taste and see and experience the life and the joy woven throughout this psalm.
Today, let the Lord be your Shepherd, making certain that you want for nothing. Let Him make you to lie down in green pastures. Let Him lead you beside quiet waters.
Today, let Jesus, the Good Shepherd, restore your soul.