He refreshes my soul

He refreshes my soul.

Psalm 23:3(a)

Image by freewine @flickr and made available under this licence.

Image by freewine @flickr and made available under this licence.

Have you ever felt so tired that you feel that you could sleep for a week? As a teacher, I often feel like that as the end of term approaches, particularly the long Christmas term. After weeks of working flat out, the end is tantalising close, but then, on top of all the usual preparation, teaching and marking, I suddenly find myself having to write several hundred reports, arranging Christmas parties, and sometimes even preparing for end-of-term trips.

It’s tiredness like that that is sometimes described as “soul-sapping.” Not only are you tired, but it actually feels like your very life force is ebbing away from you. It’s at times like this that basic things become neglected; perhaps you feel your home life suffering, and you find yourself isolating yourself from our friends. Maybe you even feel that spending time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study drops down your priorities list.

Today’s verse is a warning against this neglect. God can help us through these difficult and busy times. If we spend just a few minutes of our busy day in quiet reflection, reading our Bible and praying, then the promise in this verse is that God will refresh our soul. Not only will he physically help us by sustaining us through our busy-ness, but spending time with him also puts what we are doing into context.

Work suddenly is not the be all and end all in our lives, since as Christians we have an eternal perspective. We should not focus solely on work, because we also need to spend time with God, and we need to ensure that we are doing his work, living a life worthy of Christ’s salvation. We also understand the importance of maintaining a focus on Christ in all that we do, whether it is at work, at home, or with our friends. We can support our colleagues through their busyness too by maintaining our calm, and working as if for our Father in heaven. By doing so, we can be witnesses for God, even though we are busy.

The realisation that God can refresh our souls can help us to put our daily life into perspective. Spending just a little time every day with him can really change our lives, and change our perspective on the world.
The next time you are tempted to neglect your daily time with God, just remember the promise of this verse, that God can refresh your soul. Talk to him, and listen to him, even if just for a few minutes a day.

David trusted that God would bring him true refreshment, and said with confidence, “the Lord is my shepherd.” I wonder if we can trust in God to refresh our souls and say, “the Lord is OUR shepherd?”

For more material on Psalm 23 and full details of my book, ‘The Shepherd God,’ check out the Shepherd God pages on this site.

As featured on Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Inspirational Breakfast’ on Wednesday 15th April 2015.

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