Is the grass really greener on the other side?
Some days I long to be living back in America. I think of how wonderful it is to have water every day, stable electricity, a well-stocked grocery store, smooth roads, convenience, privacy... At times I can feel very alone, with a feeling that no one understands my life, or is holding me up in prayer.
We just got back from a short trip to the States. I was so excited to "eat up" as much 'green grass' as I could during those six weeks. And I thoroughly enjoyed the hot baths, regular electricity (although it did go out for several hours one night), shopping, and eating out. America was just as "green" as I remembered it - or was it?
My first Sunday back at our sending church a lady shares how her husband lost his job, and they are trusting God to meet their needs. I hear of another church member who is losing her house. Both are faithful givers. (My 'dusty' side of the world finds my bank account with support from those who faithfully give through their local church.) While out of town I get a phone call from my son. "Mr. So-And-So just committed suicide." The next Sunday I hug the wife, and watch as the son breaks down while singing in the choir.
The Lord speaks to my heart and asks me some hard questions:
- Are you really thankful for what I provide for you?
- Do you think you deserve what I provide?
- Do you care about the suffering of others as much as you want them to care about you?
- Do you pray for others in the way you hope they pray for you?
My mind wanders to Psalm twenty-three...
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."
It hits me. 'Green grass' isn't a place, it's a Person. Jesus wants to lead me to green pastures. And when I follow Him, He restores my soul - not family, or friends, or Walmart. He also wants me to point others to follow Him. Whether that be first through a saving knowledge of Him, or to be reminded that in Him are the answers and comfort they need.