We feed our stomachs when hungry. We hydrate our bodies when thirsty. We shower when dirty. We clip our nails. We fill our lungs with the oxygen they die for. We find a bathroom when we need to rid our body of toxic waste. (Did you know you could die if you don’t poop…it’s called fecal hoarding and this condition most often leads to tragedy when someone holds #2 in on a camping trip one day too long). All humor aside, we take care of our bodies almost instinctively and yet our souls sustain neglect and abuse that would get a parent thrown in jail.
The New Testament warns against “losing heart”, a phrase I find quite poignant. My mind’s eye pictures a leaking heart that gets holes poked in it along the way. In time, if those holes aren’t patched up and repaired, you go from losing heart to a lost heart. This might be new news for you, but your heart/soul has to be cared for. Someone has to look after it and tend it or it will die.
One of the responsibilities of a good shepherd is to make sure the green grass and the still water actually serves to restore the leaky soul. I think everyone has a leaky soul that needs filling and fueling to stay healthy.
This is where life can get the best of you. Most people don’t care about your soul. They might care about your life, but what that means most of the time is they care about what they see you doing. The going's on. They ask odd things like "How's it going?" Our culture has even adopted the nonsensical phrase: “How are you doing?” Without over-thinking this question, allow me to take it to the woodshed for a moment.
If we weren’t so conditioned to understand this question as a greeting with no strings attached, it would be confusing phraseology. If you were thinking grammatically, you would answer that question with a question: “How am I doing what?” Because the word “how” and “doing” aren’t related unless you’re talking about putting together a dollhouse for you daughter using an instruction manual on Christmas day. The phrase actually should be something like: “How is your being?” and the other one should replace the word “how” with “what”: “What are you doing?” Doing and Going and Being are very confused in our culture and it leads to one thing: Un-restored Souls.
Getting your soul restored is every bit as important as air, water and food. When you live day after day with a soul that is not interacted with and respected and listened to and treated with honor, you die. It’s a slower death than a physical heart attack, but no less actual.
The purpose of the Shepherd making sure you get your sleep and live with a sense of calm in the storm is to bring restoration to your soul. You might not even care much about the condition of your soul, but I assure you, God does. He cares about the buried content inside the sunken ship of our hearts. And he will dive deep to recover the treasure therein.
Our shepherd isn’t messing around. He’s as serious as a heart attack.