Recently, I stayed at a hotel that had a man-made creek outside my balcony. The creek meandered to a fountain. I enjoyed sitting on my balcony, listening to the song of the water as it flowed over the rocks.  It was peaceful.  As I sat outside, I was meditating on the goodness of God. My thoughts wandered to Psalms 23. The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still water. He restores my soul…

When I think of green pastures, I associate them with lush, tall, green pastures, but that’s not what David was writing about. David was writing about the Judean wilderness where he tended sheep, where it only gets about five inches of rain a year. The green is sparse. It’s a dry wilderness. The shepherd needed to know where to find the food or water and lead the sheep to it.  If left to their own devices, the sheep could starve or die of thirst. David is describing our relationship with our Good Shepherd. It’s a constant day by day following His leading, Him supplying all our needs. It’s not us leaving, thinking we can survive without God.

As I sat on my balcony, listening to the water spilling over the rocks, my peaceful thoughts were interrupted. There was something about the placement of the rocks that bothered me. They were hindering the flow of the water. I thought if I was somehow laying back, floating along in the water, the rocks would stop me, hinder my progress. But it was the rocks that caused the water to make that pleasant, peaceful sound. Remove the rocks and there would be only a quiet flow of water.

As it is with this creek so it is in our own lives. The rocks–obstacles, hindrances, trails, or testing—cause us to make a noise, hopefully, a joyful noise to the glory of God. They develop our testimony.

James 1:2 says, “Dear brothers and sisters when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”

If you think about it, each of us has a testimony, something we’ve been saved from, or something God’s brought us through. When we’re in the middle, it’s not pleasant, it’s hard to see the end. Finding joy is like finding green grass in the middle of a wilderness. It fills and revives us.

There is a song of praise God is working in you, and those coming behind you need to hear it. They need to hear the hard-won victory. They need to know don’t give up, God is with them, and He won’t leave them. He will lead them through. They need to hear what a Good Shepherd He is.

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at swimdevotions@gmail.com.

Rev. Denise Much