AS I pen this article, I am currently in bed recovering from Covid. Just when I thought I was one of the lucky ones to dodge this virus, on Sunday morning I stared at the dreaded two red lines confirming I was Covid positive.
Suddenly my plans were cancelled, including visiting my mum’s grave (as it was the second anniversary of her passing).
For someone who struggles at the best of times to rest, this certainly left me with no choice but to surrender to the fact that I need to rest and recover.
I remember years ago hearing a preacher say: “Sometimes the only way God can get you to look up is to put you flat on your back.” I’m not sure that I agree with his theology, but I do know that in the midst of our growing things-to-do lists, busy work schedules and demands on our time, God teaches about the importance of rest, refreshment and recovery.
So, what are my plans until I get the all-clear? At first, I thought I would catch up on reading and some PhD work, but I’ve discovered that the physical exhaustion I am experiencing means that my concentration isn’t the sharpest.
Therefore, my plan is to simply lie down and rest. I’ve been thinking about Psalm 23, especially verse 2: “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters.”
I remember as a little girl hearing this famous chapter being taught, usually with the backdrop of a picture depicting a lush green open field with sheep enjoying the beautiful serene meadow by a glorious river.
However, this is not what the hillsides of the psalmist’s day would have looked like. Instead, they were often hilly, parched, rocky, dirty, with the odd patch of grass due to the dry seasons they experienced. Interestingly, the warm wind blowing would create moisture on the cool rocks at night allowing pockets of grass to grow. The shepherd would take his sheep along the dirty dry paths so that they could graze of the sprigs of grass. There wasn’t much, but there was enough to help them journey a little bit further on the hillside. Also, the shepherd would build a pen that would provide protection and rest at night for his sheep. 
Life isn’t always green and lush; instead, the hilly, dirty and often rocky paths of our lives can leave us feeling parched and exhausted. God longs for us to rest. Whether we are on the rocky paths or resting up in the pen, Go. And, even when we walk through dark valleys, He is with us.