This morning I awoke with the words of Hymn 148 singing in my mind. This beautifully written poem by Anna Waring (1830-1910) is a constant source of inspiration. I love to pray with this hymn.
It opens with the affirmation that because I abide in heavenly Love I won't fear change. To abide is to reside permanently in one place. So many are facing challenges with home and employment issues as we come to the end of 2009. Many are fearful of what lies ahead. This poem reminds us that change is a part of the continual unfolding of the good God has already prepared for us. Change does not have to be a bad or a negative thing at all. We certainly do not need to fear it. It is progress and progress and forward movement are part of Principle, God's law of good.
I love to think of the part that says 'the storm may roar without me' as 'the storm may roar without my participation'. Storms happen. It is not the storm, but how we react to it that matters. Jesus stilled storms. We never need to feel dismayed by what the world is stirring up around us.
The second verse begins with 'wherever He may guide me, no want shall turn me back'. Be sure you take time each morning to pray for yourself and to include this thought in that prayer. God is guiding you at all times and under all circumstances. Wherever He is taking you, He knows the way and would never put you in danger nor make a false promise of good that remains unfulfilled. It goes on to say that 'no want shall turn me back'. No lack shall hinder your advancement. No longing shall hold you back or keep you from seeing the good that is right at hand. Include that in your prayer as well.
Verse Three continues to echo Psalm 23 with the idea of 'green pastures'. What a refreshing and rich metaphor. Lush fields filled with tasty clover. Soothing to the eye. Abundance as far as the eye can see. A soft and comfortable place to rest and be feed. The Shepherd is on watch and you can know you are guarded and protected all day long from anything that would attempt to threaten you. You won't have to deal with it, that's the Shepherd's job. We are lead to and can rest in green pastures each and every day. We don't create them, God does that.
As this year winds to a close, it is good to reflect on all the good that has come our way. It is good to express that gratitude to friends and family. Don't leave God out. Thank Him often. Look ahead to a good year about to start, filled with promise and spiritual growth, rich with opportunites to use the gifts and talents He has given you in the ways He will open.
Expect green pastures.