I took my younger brother for a boat ride in the Fall of 2017. It was a major challenge. Although he is six years younger, his body is wracked with various ailments – not the least of which is Parkinson’s disease - that have left him feeble and largely immobile. Every step is a struggle.
Cautiously I took him by the arm and slowly made our way down the long dock to the boat. His last step from the dock to the boat took major time, but finally I got him situated on the boat in a comfortable seat to enjoy the next couple of hours on the water.
God gave us a beautiful day – possibly one of the best of the entire summer. The skies were blue and the water was unusually calm as we made our way slowly around the large bay taking note of familiar sights and landmarks along the way.
Our exit off the boat was even more challenging as the two hours on the boat allowed his body to seize up somewhat and he found it hard to get mobile again. At last he did, and we gingerly made our way back down the long dock and finally into the security of the car.
On the 30-minute trip back to his adult care home, little was said. We had talked ourselves out on the boat I guess. The only thing we both felt to do was roll down the car windows and open the sliding glass top to let the fresh September air come in full blast.
During one of those quiet moments, my brother – still looking straight ahead – spoke these words: “He leadeth me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”
Those familiar words from Psalm 23 hit me with the force of a gale wind. I sat processing them, and realized my brother was expressing the refreshment and rejuvenation he had received by just quieting his spirit for two hours on a boat, and soaking in God’s wonderful creation.
Sometimes we get so busy with our own agendas that we don’t allow God the opportunity to lead us beside still waters. Our hours are so packed full of things to do and places to go, God could not get our attention if he wanted to. Jerusalem was painted with that brush. One day Jesus stood before the people and lovingly implored, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem …how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling.” (Matthew 23:37)
Restoration comes beside still waters. Noise, hubbub, and busyness are enemies of “still waters” and block out our ability to hear the quiet voice of God. Ruth Barton states, “Solitude and silence are not self-indulgent exercises for times when an overcrowded soul needs a little time to itself. Rather, they are concrete ways of opening to the presence of God.”
Have you found your place of quiet? “Acquaint now yourself with Him, and be at peace.” (Job 22:21 KJV)
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love
Psalm 23; Psalm 46:10; Ecclesiastes 3:7; Philippians 4:6-7; Isaiah 26:3, 32:17; Mark 4:39