He Restores My Soul

It’s not a very long sentence.  Four words, five syllables, sixteen letters – you could find much more sophisticated verbiage and more complicated grammatical structure elsewhere (in this very sentence, for instance).  But word-for-word, I doubt you could find a phrase that packs more hope into such a small package, one that gives you more bang for your buck.

“He restores my soul.”

King David penned this famous phrase as part of Psalm 23.  It’s familiar to us, maybe too familiar.  So familiar that we tend to say it without grasping its significance.

Don’t rush through it.  Stare at it.  Rest in it.  Swim in it for a few moments, allowing yourself to be pushed along by its current.  Allow it to take you where He wants you to go.

Here is where it takes me:

  • My soul matters.  God cares about it, has a plan for it, puts His fingerprints on it.  That makes me shake my head in wonder.
  • My soul is restorable.  That’s good news on days when I feel like I’m locked in a dry place.  I’m not condemned to stay there – it can get better.  It can be what it once was, it can be better than it ever was.  That makes me smile.
  • My soul depends upon Him.  I can’t restore it, only He can.  His truth molds it, His compassion refreshes it, His direction guides it.  That makes me pray.

These last 4 weeks were pretty intense.  Two weeks of international travel, a week of domestic travel, and five days with a nasty head-cold between the trips had disrupted my normal routine.  I hadn’t had a Sabbath hike in a month, and I missed it.  My soul felt the lack.

ImageYesterday was a day of restoration.  It had rained the day before, so my hike was muddy and cool and refreshing.  The sky was gorgeous, and the trees were budding.  Spring has sprung in Southern California, and new life was bursting out all over.

I took this as a visual parable.  In the same way that God was restoring nature at Ahmanson Ranch, I sensed that He was restoring me.  In the same way that the grassImage had been refreshed by the rain, my soul was refreshed by His presence.  It was wonderful to walk with Him again, and to know that I was welcome, even after setting aside this discipline for a while.  Yeah, it was a good day.

He restores my soul.  I’m so glad that He does.

How does He restore yours?

About Sabbath Thoughts

My name is Mike Gaston. I am a former missionary, a Shepherding Pastor at Heights Church in Prescott, AZ, a happy husband, a spoiled father of two daughters, a proud grandfather, and a recently-convinced pursuer of the benefits of intentional, regular, contemplative, Christ-centered rest. This blog will allow me to share thoughts about Sabbath, as well as thoughts about God and the Christian life that come out of my restful Sabbath moments.
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4 Responses to He Restores My Soul

  1. Karen F. says:

    “My soul is restorable. That’s good news on days when I feel like I’m locked in a dry place. I’m not condemned to stay there – it can get better. It can be what it once was, it can be better than it ever was. That makes me smile.”

    I love that second point. It lifts me up. It’s like a hug from God.

    One of the things that restores my soul is writings from the heart like yours. When I am encouraged by something, or read something that brings a smile to my heart, that restores my soul.

  2. Penelope Burch says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for sharing your Sabbath thoughts, they mean so much to us all.  Of course I am assuming how your thoughts impact others, but I can’t help but believe that, in a small way, each of your readers walks with you and feels restored.  I can picture myself in the cool of the morning, seeing the evidence of new life springing up everywhere! And I can feel in myself a sense of hope, of renewal perhaps.  Yes, He restores my soul.  Thanks for the reminder.  BTW, I live in Hasley Canyon and walk very frequently with my dog Cash.  About 3 months ago I broke my finger rather severely trying to hold cash back from his usual very enthusiastic greeting of another walker and her dog.  My finger is healing nicely but since that incident, I have not felt comfortable taking Cash on our usual 4 mile walks.  I think I am going to start again. I miss them, and that special time with God.  Walk on dear friend, and may your Sabbath walks continue to bless you and in turn, us all.

    Grace to you,



    • Penny, thanks so much for taking the time to respond, and for your encouraging words. I’m glad you’ve found a way to be regularly restored, and hope that you’ll be able soon to be back in the swing again. Walk on, again! But hold the leash a little more loosely next time. 🙂

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