As we prepare to enter this New Year of 2022, I am asking God for wisdom in all areas of my life. I am deliberately carving out time to listen for Him to guide me. I am coming to Him with my burdens and cares and asking Him to give me rest.

The 23 Psalm talks about how God cares for us as a shepherd cares for his sheep, tenderly and lovingly watching over them, meeting all their needs and leading them. Verse 3 in NKJV says:

He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

The word restore also means to refresh or give rest. I looked up the Hebrew word for “He restores” it is a verb which emphasizes intensive and ongoing action. The root word means “to turn back, return, bring back, restore, refresh, and take back.” God inspired David to write this to encourage us of His great love and mercy toward us. He wants intensely to turn us back, restore us to a place where we are refreshed in our deepest inner spiritual, mental, and emotional being. When an old car is “restored” it is cleaned up, given a new engine, and new parts are added inside and out until it is better than it was originally. This is what God wants to do for us. His restoration begins as we ask for wisdom and seek His will and way.

Another version of Psalm 23:1-3 EASY says:

The Lord takes care of me, like a shepherd with His sheep. I have everything I need. He takes me to green fields where I can rest. He leads me to streams of water where I can drink. He gives new strength in my life. He is my guide to the right paths. He does this to show that He is good.”

Making choices based on God’s wisdom will lead us along the right path. When we listen for God to guide us on His paths, in His way, we are putting our trust in Him. He wants to lead us, and this verse reveals His character and His heart for us. He leads us on the right path not because we deserve it, but because of who He is. God is always good, and He always wants what is best for us. If we are not listening and allowing His Spirit to guide us and His grace to sustain us, we may end up trying to do this based on our own independent thinking and will, which apart from God, will lead us on self-destructive paths instead of paths of righteousness.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 AMPC

Come to Me, all you labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. (I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.)”

Who can relate to being tired and feeling weighed down by all the things going on in your life and the world around you? It seems that life has gotten so much faster, and the demands on us much greater than ever before. Everywhere we turn there are reports of outbreaks, shortages, unrest, and tragedies. Yet in the midst of this, if we pause and listen, the Holy Spirit wants to speak to us. Jesus Christ Himself is showing us a better way to live. We don’t have to do this alone, in our own strength or using our own wisdom. God loves us so much He gave us the best gift ever- His Son! Believing in Him brings us right into God’s presence and allows us complete access to all of the rights, privileges and abilities that come to children who are inheritors of God’s great kingdom of grace and love.

One of the greatest rights that we have as children of God is to be restored and have peace and rest in our souls no matter what situations we are facing.

Won’t you join me today in listening, being still, trusting in God and receiving all that has been made available through Jesus Christ. Seek God and ask Him to direct you in all you do. Give your burdens to Jesus for He cares for you. And be restored, refreshed, rested, and made new.

God bless you tremendously and abundantly in Jesus’ name.

Betsy O’Callaghan