I’m sure many of us are familiar with today’s scripture. Psalm 23 has long been a favorite scripture for many people. It’s peace and calm beckon us to the feet of Jesus our shepherd. Have you ever been so worn out that you wondered if you’d have enough energy to face the next day? There have been a few days in my life that I’ve felt that way. You know, sometimes life can really be tiring. What’s even more tiring are those days when we are soul-tired. When the world’s darkness seems so great and our faith feels really small. Those days when our souls feel weary and we feel spiritually empty, those are the soul-tired days. The days that the psalmist writes of in psalm 23. Those are the days when we especially need a shepherd, a caretaker, a lover of our soul. Those are the days when we especially need Jesus.
I can honestly say, I’ve had a few soul-tired days in my last few years in ministry. I am an empathetic person who feels things deeply and at times, our world can be overwhelming for me. The near constant stream of bad news on the TV, the mass violence around the world, the destruction of our environment, the death of loved ones from illness… all these things at times have weighed heavy on my soul.
Soul-tired and yearning for a spiritual nap I turn to Jesus who provides endless fulfillment.
Now, I’d like to say I turn to him right away, at the first sign of trouble. But that just wouldn’t be true. I often try to muscle through the fog of fatigue on my own. I, at times, have felt I needed to be strong for others, or for the congregations I was serving. So I put my head down and tried to do life on my own. Now that is not a strategy I’d recommend. When you’re soul-tired the last thing you need to do is try to muscle through. Instead, Jesus calls us to draw deeply from his wells of fulfillment. He calls us to sit at his feet as he provides for us green pastures and banquet tables in the face of our enemies.
Friends, when we muscle through and try to revive our own souls we will find more often than not that we are simply not equipped to refill our own spiritual tanks. That’s God’s job. He is our shepherd, our caretaker, our provider – who will fill us to overflowing if we simply ask. If we sit at his feet and depend on him to revive and restore us.
So maybe you are in a place where you are soul-tired today. If so, our prayer exercise is just for you. In your prayer time, read through psalm 23 multiple times, visualizing each time God providing for you. How has he given you rest in green pastures, anointed your head with oil, and prepared a table for you in the presence of your enemies? It may be helpful to draw a picture or jot down some words in your prayer journal. You may want to write out the words to Psalm 23 as you read through it. Whatever you do in your prayer time, let it be a meditation that brings you to the feet of Jesus asking him to restore your tired and weary soul.
Gratitude: Spend some time thanking God today for the restoration he offers you through your prayer meditation.