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, March 2, 2012

Winter Sunrise

It was a cold wintry morning. I woke up to my radio announcing the temperature was 2 degrees with a wind chill index of -12 at 6:58 am! I had overslept. I wanted to roll over and stay under the warm covers but knew I could not do that. Jumping out of bed, I woke Noah, telling him to hurry and then rushed to get myself ready.

We rushed out the door where a freezing chilly wind hit me clear to the bone. It was a winter wonderland. Everything covered with snow and frost and my breath frozen in the air. The sky was a dark, gloomy, gray overcast. The car slowly cranked over and reluctantly started. Finally after scraping frost off of the windows and the car somewhat warmed up we hurriedly proceeded to back out of the driveway. Of course, since we were running late, traffic was heavy. Seeing our break, we were on our way.

Driving up the street, I notice a narrow, yellowish colored shaft of light shooting straight up into the sky amidst the gloom. This was very odd - never saw anything quite like this before.

Focusing on the traffic again, I pulled up to the drop off lane in front of the school and waited our turn as the bumper to bumper cars dropped off kids. At last – my turn. I apologized to Noah for getting up so late, told him to hurry before the bell rang, and also told him to “have a great day”. Yeah, right – really started out great!

Turning on my signal I started to merge back into the traffic and drive around the block. I was so cold and the car just didn’t seem to be heating up fast enough to take the chill out of the air. My morning coffee was awaiting me! I made the full circle of the block and headed back in the direction I had started when I pulled up to the stop light and was overcome by what was unfolding before my eyes. I sat at that stop light in total amazement. That small shaft of narrow light had illuminated the entire horizon. It was like it was pulling back a huge grey curtain and stepping onto the center stage of planet earth and I was sitting in the front row – there at the stop light. The cold frosty trees silhouetted with the bright yellow-orange burst of the most awesome sunrise I have ever seen. I was in a trance watching the marvelous wonder from the heavens as it slowly appeared when I heard a horn blare behind me reminding me that I was blocking traffic. I quickly turned the corner and felt a sadness come over me as I turned my back on this particular sunrise. I was compelled to keep looking over my shoulder so I would’nt miss a single moment of this spectacular sunrise. Knowing I could not drive and look back, I quickly turning into the Walgreens parking lot and drove to the far corner, parked my car and watched, knowing this was a sunset I did not want to miss. All of the sudden every cloud disappeared, the grey sky instantly was a beautiful blue. The sky lit up casting the most interesting glow of light across the bitter, icy, snow covered horizon almost giving a feeling of physical warmth.

Knowing I had to get to work, I watched as long as possible. That sunrise cast a whole new light on my “not so great” start that morning. I have learned that one should never-ever pass up a sunset or a sunrise like this one. They only last a moment – but the impact on the heart and soul is priceless.

I went home, poured my steaming cup of coffee, sat down and reflected on the sight I had not only saw but experienced deep down in my heart. I was once again reminded that “This is the day the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24) Truly this was His day. In all of His majesty, God spoke to me through His word and his awesome creation. I only had to change my focus to Him. If you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deu. 4:29) 

I finished my second cup of coffee and headed back out into the cold. But this time my heart was lifted as I thanked God for warming my heart and soul and blessing me with that sunrise of all sunrises!

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