Mary Adams (28 Aug 2016)
"Lying Down in Green Pastures"




Our only refuge in the dark days ahead…


One of the most dangerous things we can ever ask God is “to show me Your ways”. (Ps 25:4) Have you ever done that?  Were you disappointed when He did? You could be.


For me, I wanted Him to talk to me just as I talked to Him…in English, of course.  I wanted everything spelled plain and simple…no guesswork and waiting for interpretation.  But it didn’t happen that way.  For the more I thought I knew about Him, the less I understood.  His ways would always be higher than mine:


“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God—how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out”. (Romans 11:33)


The wisdom of this world would always be foolishness to Him:


“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord”. (Isa.55:8)


Hints of His nature startled me one day as I began to try and study and learn.  First, He never seemed to be interested in using my abilities, my good points; those strengths I had always felt were so essential and commendable.  Quite the opposite: He worked through my weakness!  The only “splash” I could ever make would not be my doing.  Only after He had stripped me bare and discarded every shred of pridefulness in what I knew or was able to do, could He ever use me. God would never be something on my level, and if I were to truly “learn of Him”, the one doing any arranging would not be Him…it would be me.


 He told the learned scholar, Paul, that “My strength is made perfect in your weakness”. (1 Cor 12:9) What a letdown!  After all those years of university study! He counted it all DUNG! Yet Paul came to revel in laying aside his brilliance in exchange for those mighty spiritual revelations that flowed from heaven when he did. 


Jesus lived so simply….a rock for His pillow, a pasture meadow for a bed.  He did not employ an advertising agency, but used the simple voice of a joyous testimony to draw the crowds.  He used whatever was at hand to produce miracles: water, dirt, a curious fish---so totally in opposition to man’s ways.


Jesus a king?  What king do you know that ever lived like this? who never owned a palace, nor commanded an army, who never hired servants to wait on his every need but instead washed the feet of his disciples.  What king do you know who spent his life binding up the broken-hearted, healing the sick, delivering the oppressed, whose own birth was witnessed inside a cattle stall in a tiny hamlet called Bethlehem, when not five miles away in Jerusalem was where kings lived in royal splendor?  Would that have been the way I planned it?  My answer is no.


I wanted God to be BIG…for He is BIG!  Yet He speaks of tiny mustard seeds as the size of the kind of faith He wants me to have.  I have wanted God to call down fire from heaven in certain situations, yet the ones I would have destroyed, he wooed with divine love. I wanted Him to react the way I react, reach judgment as I see things.  But He does not. 



So I am a complete failure when it comes to knowing Him, but I am learning, slowly.  A safe thought would be to go 180 degrees from what my initial reactions would be…most likely I would find Him there.  But I want so badly to know Him…to think His thoughts, to discover a walk with Him that is so natural and not requiring my constant shedding of the old mind and self.


I think that kind of walk revolves around a mysterious thing we call prayer.  When we think of prayer, we often see it as an interruption of daily activity, a sacrifice of precious time.  I wonder.


Have you a struggle with prayer?  Perhaps you, (like I once did) haven’t remembered that God is a Spirit.  That He is an unseen presence.  And because of that, we often think He is not around.  We might prefer a more tangible being—one who we can see face to face.  We want to hear an instant response, observe a smile or a frown.  But here we go again; forced to realize He does not do things “our way”.


But if God could only be on our level, are we sure that is what we would want?   Suppose He were. I thought about that---if God were in human form, if He walked about with me everywhere I went, would there be times I wish He weren’t there?  Adam and Eve did. So have many “believers”. Would I struggle to explain His presence to some of my friends?  Would I go to certain places and find Him a ball and chain that I might come to resent?  Always having Him around might prove uncomfortable when I wanted my privacy to enjoy some hidden desire.


But you see, that is why God remains a Spirit.  He is not intrusive, nor puts a weight upon us that forces us to conform.  Although nothing is ever hidden from Him and He remains omni-present, our Heavenly Father thought of everything because of His great love for us.  That is why He remains an unseen presence…a Spirit.  My frail human mind struggles with that at times; to accept Him that way requires me to believe He never leaves me nor forsakes me.  He is always there, in spite of my inability to see Him.  And yet, if this is so, nothing I do or think is hidden from Him either.  I cannot escape Him.


Men have tried.  Jonah thought he could.  And so he took a ship away from home to try and escape from God’s presence.  Yet we know the story…God was along for the stormy ride, and even followed Jonah into the belly of that great whale!!



We forget how He was with Adam and Even in the garden, and there were no hidden secrets from Him.  When He cried out, “where are you Adam?” he already knew where Adam was.  He just wanted Adam to respond and know he was not hidden.


And so the great struggle of mankind is what to do with God.  He is with us, even when we might not want Him around. And so totally in opposition to our natural man.


I think I have finally figured out why He is invisible to me.  To allow me the ability to choose to recognize His presence.  For if I want to I can….day after day, fail to even think of Him.  I can ignore Him, forget Him, act as though He did not exist. And in spite of that, He will still wait patiently for me, doing all He can

to draw me to Himself.  No wonder He is called love.  For love is like that…it hopes for a chance to be accepted, to become “special” in a life. Love wants so much to have companionship and intimacy.  Our relationship with our Heavenly Father is no different.


The word for prayer is simply, conversation.  Through it we are romanced, and our love kept alive.  How many marriages failed because of the lack of it.  I can deny Him the rest of my life, but He will never leave me nor forsake me.


Suppose then, that I yield and dare to get involved with Him—to strike up a conversation and learn how He thinks.  What will happen?  Oh dear friend, that is what it is really all about, and why Jesus came.  That His sweet Spirit might live in us, should we invite Him in.  That we would become One with Him and be consumed in this awesome love.  As a friend of mine has said, “that even in a desolate place I feel like I am in glory”.  What an awesome and indescribable joy floods the very heart of anyone who dares to know Him that way!!


 And it is then, our Good Shepherd makes us fearful, trembling sheep to lie down in green pastures and fear no evil...