Do you have authors that you not only like what they write, but also what they read? Who an author quotes often says a lot about the depths he or she digs to find nuggets of wisdom. David Roper is one of these type of authors for me. Let me share part of a chapter from one of his books.
He makes me lie down in
green pastures, he leads me
beside quiet waters.
Left to ourselves we would have nothing more than restlessness, driven by the realization that there is something more to know and love. But God will not leave us to ourselves. He makes us lie down in green pastures. He leads us by quiet waters.
The verbs suggest gentle persuasion-a shepherd patiently, persistently encouraging his sheep to the place where their hungers and thirsts will be assuaged….
The image of placid waters emphasizes the concept of rest-the condition of having all our passions satisfied. Augustine cried out, “What will make me take my rest in you . . . so I can forget my restlessness and take hold of you, the one good thing in my life?” He makes me [causes me to] lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters.” “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3-4).
The compulsion begins with God. “God spoke to the depths of David’s heart, uttering His heart’s desire: “Seek my face.” And David responded with alacrity, “I will seek your face, Lord.”
God makes the first move; He takes the initiative-calling us, leading us to a place of rest.
It’s not that we’re seeking God; He is seeking us. “There is a property in God of thirst and longing. . .” says Dame Julian of Norwich, “he hath longing to have us.”
God’s cry to wayward Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) suggests the loneliness He feels when separated from those He loves. G. K. Chesterton suggests that the whole Bible is about the “loneliness of God.” I like the thought that in some inexplicable way God misses me, that He can’t bear to be separated from me, that I’m always on His mind, that He patiently, insistently calls me, seeks me, not for my own sake alone, but for His. He cries, “Where are you?”
Deep within us is a place for God. We were made for God and without His love we ache in loneliness and emptiness. He calls from deep space to our depths: “Deep calls to deep” (Psalm 42:7).
David put it this way, “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek” (Psalm 27:8).
I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me;
It was not I that found, O Savior true,
No, I was found of Thee.
(Psalm 23: The Song of a Passionate Heart
Copyright © 1994 by David Roper
All rights reserved.)
Maybe as you enter this Easter season, the thought of God’s longing for you will arouse a deeper love (or awaken a love you have never had before) for Him.