“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want… he restores my soul.” — Psalm 23:1,3
“I will restore your soul.”
This was the phrase that permeated my thoughts as I leaned back against the wall of our room and gazed at immense beauty in the mountains of Utah. 14 inches of snow had fallen like a beautiful blanket over the hillside, and since it was the first snow of the season there weren’t more than a handful of souls to be seen on the untouched mountain our lodge was tucked up into. It was a weekend getaway with my husband. We felt like we had hit the jackpot with food, a low head count… and an entire floor level of games… you guys, I played 1,000 rounds of Buck Hunter. There was nothing left to ask for. All of our needs were met with hardly even an ask, and while it was a tremendous gift, I could not shake the fact that the experience alone would not be enough to restore my soul. Have you ever noticed this gap? Not only was it unsustainable, but comfort and luxury does not equal satisfaction. Comfort does not boast purpose. Comfort doesn’t even hold any authority over our greatest questions of identity or purpose. Comfort doesn’t even equal rest. In fact, at its worst, comfort can even threaten our willingness to get uncomfortable when we need to. And isn’t it true that some of our greatest points of joy or observation of beauty required something from us? In order to enjoy the peaks, we have to do some climbing.
Weekend getaways are gifts. In the best of circumstances they’re a memorable retreat from the everyday ask. But 2 or 3 days away can never do the kind of work on our souls that we need. In fact, any number of days living in a perpetual state of luxury does not do the actual true work of restoring.
So what can we count on for restoration?
“I will restore your soul.”
There is only one who shepherds his beloved in such a way that we want for nothing. There is only one who’s feet we might lay before and follow closely behind that result in soul restoration. And he will do this, not only when we are exhausted, but on a daily basis. He will restore every single day, what our heart needs to thrive in the work he has given us. I try very hard not to miss a meal, because… well I like being full. And I like flavor. It’s in my routine and it’s good for my body. And likewise, I try very hard not to miss a day with my savior. Not to miss his words of life and his voice so satisfying. Because I like strength. I like truth. And it’s really good for my heart.
When we gather our children into our arms (even the big ones — I see you moms driving your teens to roll their eyes — keep going!) we want them to know we delight in them, right? We applaud their trust when they offer it, and whisper love soaked words into their listening ears – those ears and eyes and faces whose lines and curves we know. And if we, as imperfect moms with imperfect perspectives and definable limitations call our children to us in this way, how much greater does our sovereign and perfect Father — who rescues and restores and redeems, who is without limitations to his power or resources. So to him we must run, towards his face we can gaze, and where he goes, we will follow. We can look to him for restoration — Not because we are strong, but because we are his.