He Causes Me to Rest
- July 13, 2015
- Ashlee Johnson
I hurt my back last Monday and I don’t even have a great story to tell about it. The long and short of it is that I’m getting old. I’m now in the “I’m blogging about my ailments” category! (Cue funeral dirge.) I was taking groceries out of the trunk and just twisted the wrong way, I suppose. As soon as it happened I knew it was bad. The pain wasn’t excruciating at first, but I had that feeling that worse pain was immanent and massive amounts of Advil were in order!
Several hours later I had a fantastic massage from a dear friend who is also a gifted massage therapist. Apparently, part of the deal with massaging an injured area is that it works the inflammation out of the wounded spot and into the rest of your body. I came home, ate a few bites of dinner, and crashed. I slept like I had the flu. I would take a nap, wake up and try to read, and fall asleep before the end of one page. I slept all evening and then slept all night. I slept-in the next morning and then took a late morning nap… you get the idea.
Certainly, my body was using much of its energy to heal, but the fatigue was pretty extreme and I suspected a little something else was going on. I was tired from the inside out: emotionally and spiritually depleted. I am not at all saying that “God hurt my back,” but I could not help but think in the midst of my day in bed about Psalm 23:2. “He [The Lord, my shepherd] makes me lie down in green pastures.”
Isn’t that interesting language? The Lord “makes me” lie down? I totally get it; it’s like me with my two-year-old every afternoon around 1:00. I don’t ask her if she’d like to take a nap or just let her mosey on up to her room to lie down whenever she gets around to it. No, I rock her for a bit and put her in the crib. I make her lie down.
The English translators are expressing a Hebrew hiphil verb form here. Verbs in the hiphil form communicate a “causative action” – that is an action that has been or is being caused by another. By Tuesday evening, I was sure that the Lord was using this injury to cause me to cease laundry and house projects and ministry planning and even mothering to have some much needed rest.
But this is only half of the good news of Psalm 23:2 because the Hebrew verb rendered “makes me lie down” is not only in the hiphil form, but it is also in the imperfect tense. In other words, David states that the Lord continually causes him to lie down. Let that sink in for a bit. This promise goes far beyond a sick day in bed. Even in the midst of life and demands and stressors our Shepherd promises to bring us soul-rest over and over and over again. He—and not a week at the beach or an afternoon on the golf course or a morning in bed with coffee—is our rest.
I am hoping for a much less eventful week ahead, but whatever comes my way, I know that the Lord will cause me to lie down.