Graze: To feed on growing grasses.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

-Ps. 23:1-6

Growing up on a farm, I used to watch the cows, sheep & horses graze in the pasture. Each morning we would open the gate to the barnyard and they knew there was freedom from that small pen they were in. They also knew there was nice green grass beyond the barnyard. Once the gate was open, look out because those animals wanted to get where the tall, green grass grew – the pasture! They would take off sometimes even running up the old fenced lane that went up over the hill through the cornfield to the lush green pasture on the other side of the farm. There they would graze for a while then lay down and rest for a while then graze some more. They did this all day long. Come evening we would go over to the pasture’s edge and call the cows – 'come boss, 'come boss. They would gather at the pasture gate. Sometimes we would have to go round up a few stragglers and when all were accounted for, we’d open the lane gate and back over the hill they would go to the barnyard for the night. The next morning was the same routine, day after day.
What a life, huh?!

Oh that we could just graze and rest in shady green pastures all day long! But we can rest and graze in God’s green pastures and restore our souls . . . The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (Ps. 23:1) I believe God wants us to slow down and “rest” and “graze” and “feed” on His Word. Life throws so many things our way and we are so busy – busy doing good things. But are we running on empty a good share of the time? Are we feeling stretched to extreme? Are we content with who we are in God’s divine providence? Slow down and take some time to just leisurely graze, rest a while, then graze and feed on the good things God has provided for you. Graze, rest, and enjoy the “shady green pastures” of God’s abundant love, grace, and mercy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Healing or Quick Fix

I saw some kids having a water fight with squirt guns, hose and water bottles yesterday as I was on my daily walk. My thoughts went back to a water fight we had when we were kids. Mom had some things to do in town so she let my brother, John, and I go over to the Smith's farm for the afternoon. She would pick us up on her way home. They had kids our age, Dan and Julie. It was one of those still, hot, sun-beating-down-on-your-head kind of day, so we decided to cool off and have a water fight - boys against girls!! We didn't have any squirt guns but we did have access to a water hose, some buckets, and some empty pop bottles. Let me remind you... that was back before we had pop cans! Yes, I am that old!!

We were having so much fun running, chasing each other, getting wet, laughing and carrying on as kids do on such a care-free summer day. I can still remember so clearly sneaking up behind John with my filled pop bottle ready to unload it on him. Just as I started emptying the bottle of water on his back he quickly turned around. He also had his water filled pop bottle in his hand ready to get me. Just then our pop bottles hit and you guessed it - they broke right in our hands. I screamed not only because the clash of bottles scared me but because my left hand instantly turned bright red. John, Dan, and Julie gathered around me as the blood was dripping off of my hand. John got a small nick in his hand but I received the blunt of the clash. The guys pick up the broken glass and Julie and I slipped in the back door and into the bathroom to wash the blood from my hand and get the bleeding to stop. I don't think either one of us knew what we were doing but I remember filling the sink with water, dipping my hand into the water then draining the bright red blood/water and repeating this again and again until finally Julie's mother called through the door and wanted to know what we were doing. We had been caught! We opened the door and Mrs. Smith came in and quickly dryed my hand, examined it, and began wrapping it up tightly in long strips of what cloth to get the bleeding to stop.

The bottle had broken and cut right at the base of my thumb between my thumb and forefinger. I guess because it was nearly in the thumb joint, it was a little hard to see the extent of the cut. We finally got the bleeding to stop and changed the bandages again and tightly wrapped my hand once again. It wasn't too long before mom stopped to pick up John and I. The "mothers" discussed the water fight incident and then we went on home. Mom unwrapped the white strips of cloth that had been wrapped around my hand so she could see where it was cut - just a little over 1/4 inch but not quite a 1/2 inch in length. It had finally quit bleeding and because of the position of my thumb it actually pressed the cut closed when I held my thumb tight against my forefinger. So we wrapped it up and it bagan to heal.

I never did go to the doctor and it did heal quite quickly. But as it bagan to heal I noticed something strange. I could not bend my thumb. Mom realized that we should have went to the doctor and that something more than just the top skin had been cut. Possibly a nerve or a tendon but it was already healed now and there really was nothing we could do about it. The outside had healed nicely leaving a scar there at the base of my thumb. But there was something deep down inside that did not heal back the way it should have. From that water fight until now I have not been able to bend my thumb! WOW! I bet you didn't know that, did you??!! Well, it is neither here nor there and it hasn't kept me from doing much of anything. I just learned to grip things a little differently and maybe I do a few things different but bottom line is "I KNOW" that "I CAN'T BEND MY THUMB" no matter how hard I try - it just won't bend!

I've thought about that many times down thru the years. How sometimes we deal with our hurts, sorrows, and our pain much like we dealt with my cut. We put a bandage on them and we hope they all heal up just like new. We cover them up and let them heal. Many times the outside does heal and everything looks good on the surface or at least we think they have healed and they look good. But deep down where the hurt and pain began, where the problem starts it hasn't really healed correctly - just like my thumb. When something is wrong deep down and it isn't fixed right away and put back the way it should be, we go thru life knowing that something is wrong - it hasn't been dealt with, it hasn't been fixed, it doesn't work like it is suppose to, we can't get beyond the fact that . . . "we can't bend our thumb"! We know that something just isn't right.

It is only when we get to the real problem, the real thing that makes us react like we do, that makes our anger get out of control, that makes us say things and treat people in unhealthy, selfish ways, etc. that we can break the unhealthy cycles that hold us captive. When we fix what is going on under the skin and then let it heal - we are able to function in healthy, growing, loving relationships. When things are fixed on the inside - the outside will also be fixed. If I had gone to the doctor when I first cut my thumb and whatever was cut deep down was fixed maybe I would be able to bend my thumb today! A Bandage is only a quick fix if the problem is not fixed from the inside out. Look deep within yourself and let the healing begin where the problem started. Seek healing - not just a "quick-fix".

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" -Psalms 147:3

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