I’ve been thinking about grass lately. You know, the typically green kind that surrounds my house. Maybe that’s because it’s currently buried under a few inches of snow and even if it wasn’t it would be more brown than green.
Kind of unavoidable unless I choose to live in some tropical location and that just wouldn’t work at all.
I can handle winter mostly because I know that spring is sure to follow.
Even if I can’t see the grass, I know it’s there. And even if the trees are brown and gray, I know it won’t be long until they pop with the kind of color that’s almost indescribable.
There’s peace in that.
Some of you might remember that I get a bit restless sometimes. Even if I’m happy about our present circumstances, I start to dream, imagine, wonder what life would be like somewhere else. In some other set of circumstances.
It’s the old “grass is always greener” syndrome and I am not immune to its charms.
Just this week, we had that awkward “where is home?” discussion again. We sometimes refer to Illinois as home and sometimes we call Pennsylvania home and it’s terribly confusing, even to us.
No matter where we are right now, if I see a home for sale I almost always look it up just out of curiosity. I guess I’m nosy or HGTV deprived. I made the “mistake” of asking my nosy questions out loud in my parents’ hearing which prompted all kinds of not-so-subtle hints about properties that were available practically next door.
Even I began to wonder: What are we still doing in Pennsylvania? Should we move back to Illinois?
My heart tugs toward this option any time I spend time with my family because it is harder than I ever thought it would be to live 800 miles from home, even as a grown-up with great friends and great community. My heart seems permanently torn between two places.
But God made it clear, as He always does, that now is not the time to go anywhere. The very day I was plotting our return to Illinois, I read the story of Abraham and Sarah in the Bible, the couple who leaves what is familiar to go to a place that is unknown all because God says. And while their story is not ours completely (no baby in old age, please and thank you), it is the one story that has been consistent in our journey toward whatever we’re journeying toward.
So, when people ask us if we’d move back to Illinois in a heartbeat if we had no ties here, our answer is complicated. It isn’t jobs or schools or church or even relationships that keep us here.
It is God. (So, if you need someone to blame, you can go straight to the top!)
Believe me, I’m not always okay with that.
But I also can’t deny it.
When I want to “go,” He says “stay.”
And I protest that maybe I’d like to see what that grass over there is like. It might be greener than the grass we have here.
And though I know that I need to tend my own proverbial grass if I want it to be greener, the lesson doesn’t always stick.
This week, though, a familiar verse from the Psalms settled anew in my soul.
Maybe you know it.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
It’s the second verse of Psalm 23, and until this week, I just passed right over it.
I’ve heard the pastures described as not exactly lush or overwhelmingly green, but that’s not what stuck with me this time.
No, it’s the whole “lie down” thing.
Not pass through. Not run across. Not stand and admire and be on my way.
Another version says “he lets me rest in green meadows.”
I can’t remember the last time I lay in the grass looking up at the sky. Who has time for that kind of juvenile behavior? Plus, I’d probably get bugs and dirt in my hair. And the ground might be cold.
But seriously, this concept of resting, even lying down, in this grass right here, was kind of mind-blowing.
Basically, I hear God saying: Look around you. There is a green pasture right here, and it’s all for you. Rest. Lie down, even. There’s no need to rush on to the next thing. I’ll let you know when it’s time to get up and move on.
There’s peace in that, too, even if it makes me worry because I’m not the one in control.
I can’t promise that I’ll never pine for greener grass over there somewhere, but I feel like this is a breakthrough. I’m going to rest in the green grass right here. Or try to.
What about you? How easy is it for you to rest in your circumstances?
What helps you remain content with God’s plan?