My wife and I spent a weeks holiday on a houseboat last week. We hired the boat called Leo, from Paradise Afloat Houseboats, and spent 5 days exploring the mid – upper section of the Hawksbury River to the nth / west of Sydney. I was amazed at just how in need of a break I was. Because of study, other voluntary commitments and health issues, I don’t work in a paid capacity. My wife on the other hand works in a stressful environment and took the month of October off to recharge her batteries, something she hasn’t done since we were married a few years ago.
I went on-board with the greatest of intentions to do much reading, much reflection, much prayer and to catch up on some college requirements. The reality was much different. Far from the trappings of modern technology, social media and mobile phone coverage, away from the crowds, away from the ever increasing demands of society and ministry – Sleep caught up with me. And instead of doing the vast amount of reading that I intended, the Lord had other plans for me and I instead found myself reflecting Psalm 23 through out the cruise. (I did however manage to do the required reading for college )
Today I would like to share some of my reflections on Psalm 23 and post up some of the pictures of our holiday experience.
- David writes of peace in a time of turmoil and anxiety.
- He faces death on a regular basis.
- Even though his enemies look on and perhaps even surround him, the Lord leads him to green pastures, quiet waters and restores his soul.
- The Lord provides all for him, sets the table for him, anoints him with oil, and there is no lack, for his cup continues to not just be filled, but overflows.
- There is no choice in the matter, the Lord is doing this for him.
As I sat on the top of the boat, over looking the quiet section of the river we were in, watching the sun rise over the mountains, the birds flying above and paddling in the water. Watched the cows graze on nearby farms, and the mullet jumping about in the water- I became aware of my deep need for the restoring of my soul. And once again the presence of the Lord trickled into me, covered me, flowed through me and overflowed through me.
I was reminded of the Scripture that says …come to me all who are weary and burdened, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. And indeed the burdens of life, the weariness from the busyness of the past year lifted from me. Few of us in the Western World have physical enemies encamping around them like the author of this Psalm did. Yet we all have enemies that surround us. Enemies who threaten to burden us, destroy us, weary us and grind us down.
Those enemies could be fear, anxiety, bitterness, sickness, death, loss. Loss can be the loss of finances, youth, a loved one, loss of position or job. Our enemy might be regrets and un-forgiveness. Anger, impatience, greed, lust, a sense of entitlement, over work, lack of time, gossip and betrayal are just among a few of the enemies that threaten to destroy our soul. And then there is the spiritual battle we fight. For we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against demonic spiritual forces that prowl around us like a lion.
Despite the constant battle of our soul, the Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. I find everything I need in him. He indeed leads me to green pastures and beside quiet waters. He indeed brings comfort to me. He indeed anoints me to do that which he calls and leads me to do. And in him: I find eternal life, eternal peace, eternal hope, eternal love, eternal contentment, eternal acceptance, eternal forgiveness and perfect relationship.
As I reflected in the quietness of God’s creation, the things of earth became strangely dim, all cares drifting away with the current and breath of the Holy Spirit and once again I was encouraged and reminded that God’s mercy and goodness shall follow me the rest of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.