He Restores my Soul
We welcomed the autumn showers when they finally reached Adelaide. A large bush in our front yard almost died when summer ended, but now had new life fed into its veins. The verdant autumn green around us was deeply refreshing compared to the stark summer brown. I bought myself a smart little raincoat to wear for my wet weather walks and my sneakers have been already wandering in muddy, squishy haunts.
The problem with hiking in rain is that the crevices of my shoe soles are soon filled with mud, grass and lots of gooey stuff. Cleaning them becomes a thankless chore. Some weeks ago, when I noticed that my sneaker bottoms were encased in dirt, I decided to walk in them a few more times before I cleaned them. There was no point in doing it too soon since the very next walk would bring the messy stuff right back in. Finally … a week of dry weather arrived. It was time to clean my shoes.
I returned home after a happy ramble one day, and undid my sneakers. I turned them upside down to have a look, expecting to see more grime. What a surprise it was to find that the soles were clean. A miracle? Well, not exactly. It wasn’t that a shoe goblin had come at night and cleaned them while I was asleep. No, the answer was pretty simple. As I walked, the dried dirt and sand and mud must have fallen off my shoes, just as it had previously clung to the soles when wet. Voila. An unsoiled pair of shoe soles again—and I hadn’t needed to lift one finger to get them clean. I liked that. I liked that a lot.
Sometimes it happens in my spiritual walk as well. There was a season when life had been hectic and frenzied. I’d been too busy to spend sufficient time with God and I was burnt out and spent. As I walked into church one Sunday morning, I breathed a prayer in desperate longing: “Lord, please renew me. I need you so.” As we sang to God that day, I did something I’d never done before—I raised my hands in worship. These days, I do it all the time, but that Sunday many years ago, with my staid Methodist upbringing, it was something very hard to do. Could I raise my hands? Would people stare at me? I knew I had to obey. As I lifted my hands in total surrender, the Presence of the Lord enveloped me and His love rained upon me. He revived the wilted flower that I was. I walked out of the church that day, invigorated and joy-filled like a once thirsty, lifeless branch, now transformed and green and glowing, after the winter rains.
There are seasons when my soul collects dirt and grime. Fear, anger, impatience. Envy, guilt, shame. Despair, unforgiveness, pride. But when I linger in God’s presence, the damp dirt is dried as the winds of the Holy Spirit blow through me, and all the yucky stuff falls off my spirit. What a blessing it is to be set free again.
Are you in need of refreshment today? Come into His presence with an open heart. He will do the rest. May we then, restored and whole again, go forward with joy to serve His world.
‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1, 2