He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. | Psalm 147:8
Y’all, it is officially the middle of June, and I am tired. June has been, thus far, a long, wonderful, slightly arduous month. I am anxious for July.
Life has been very, very rushed the last two weeks, and it has taken a toll on me. Not in huge ways, but more in the little ways: I am more prone to frustration and anger, focused on a list of tasks and not resting well, cryptic, cynical, weary. This is not to say that the last two weeks haven’t been wonderful; there have been many good things (weddings! bachelorette parties! seeing family! eating delicious steak from Texas! chocolate cake! long weekends!). Yet I am discovering anew that I cannot go very long without learning how to rest well.
One would think I had learned this lesson already from making it through college and planning a wedding. Apparently it’s a lesson to keep relearning.
Tonight is the first time I have sat down and had quiet time in at least two weeks, probably closer to a month. After a frustrated quarter of an hour trying to pray, the Lord brought it to my mind that I should pray through a psalm, and I opened to the end of the Psalms to the above chapter (147). Verse 8 stood out to me for many wonderful reasons.
One, the verse is sequential: the Lord waters the grass and enables it to grow, but first He causes the rain to fall, and before that, He casts the clouds out over the sky. I love seeing the natural order of things here, but He initiates the end result.
Two, everything is provided for the growth. Grass could not grow without water; water must be provided. The Lord provides even for the grass that grows. He provides all I need, too: rest. Lessons when I need them (which, by the way, is always). Joy. Forgiveness. Conviction. Earlier in the chapter, verse 6 reads “the Lord sustains the humble, but casts the wicked to the ground.”
Three, clouds (often regarded as bad tidings) will come to help the growth along. I am not happy to learn how bad I am at resting well, but chances are I will not get any better at resting if I’m not tired first. I also won’t grow in quite the same way without some rain.
I don’t say this to negate the value of work. I love the way Elisabeth Elliot phrases how rest and word depend on each other:
“Work is a blessing. God has so arranged the world that work is necessary, and He gives us hands and strength to do it. The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest, just as it is the experiences of hunger and thirst that make food and drink such pleasures.” Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender
And so I rejoice to learn in whatever way the Lord sees fit.
Fourthly (and lastly!), the grass displays the glory of the One who sent the clouds. When I learn well at the Lord’s hands, His grandeur may shine a little more brightly. That is something I want to learn more and more of in every coming season, busy though some may be!