Sunday, July 14, 2013

"Refresh" My Soul

This morning in our bible class we were continuing our study on "The Kingdom of God is Like..." and Psalm 23 was read as a reference.  I have known that Psalm by heart ever since my daughter learned it in a 4 year old bible class.  I think they learned the NASB version so I've always remembered it like this... "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quite waters.  He "restores" my soul."  This morning we were using the NIV and it says, He "refreshes" my soul.  I had never heard that before even though I haven't used the NASB version for many, many years.  I hadn't heard it because I had memorized that scripture years ago along with my daughter.  So every time it was read I never turned to it in my bible because I "knew" it by heart.  So I would just say it along it my head obviously without paying close attention to the words.

Don't get me wrong, I think memorizing scripture is great.  But I was reminded today that even when you have something memorized, there is still much to learn.  God's word is new every morning... even if you do have parts of it memorized.  I love that we have different translations of scripture.  Different words make you stop and think about things in a way you might not have thought about them before.  I love that the NIV says "refreshes" instead of "restores".  While my soul often longs to be restored, sometimes in the midst of trials, in the midst of uncertainty, in the midst of chaos, or in the midst of... you name the struggle, restores seems like something too far in the distance.  Restores seems like something I am unable to grasp, something intangible.  Sometimes restoring my soul seems like an uphill climb, a climb in which I may never reach the top.  Sometimes restoring in the midst of darkness seems like something that will never come.  But refreshes... ah... that is something I can cling too.  The word "refreshes"... just saying it sparks something new in me.  I may not feel like God is anywhere close to restoring my soul in certain times of darkness.  But I know that He never leaves me.  And to know that He "refreshes" my soul gives me just enough to keep going.  It gives me just enough to know that someday, He will restore my soul fully.

The NCV says, "He gives me new strength".  "New strength"... That's another word or words I can cling too.  When it seems that nothing is going right and you don't have any idea what's coming next, you might not even be able to think about "restores", but new strength I can sink my teeth into.  There have been many times when I didn't think I was going to make it, but God has sent me "new strength" for the task or journey that was at hand.  The Message says, "True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction."  "Catch my breath".... wow!  Sometimes that is all I have the strength to do is "catch my breath".   I love that.

I love that God's word can always bring something new and fresh.  I love that God's word let's me know that even when things are crazy, He is there.  I love that we have different translations to help give us a bigger picture of who He is.  Because while sometimes it may seem like my soul is far from being restored, I know that God is there... to help me "catch my breath", to "give me new strength" and to "refresh my soul".  So that one day, my soul can truly be "restored"!


The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the
darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.  Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23