Pastures.

Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. -Ezekiel 34:14 (NLT)

I live in Nebraska, where long stretches of open plains is the norm. If you have to drive to any other state or anywhere outside the Metro area, there’s a good chance that you’ll drive by a field of green. Actually, even inside the city limits, it’s not unusual to see a little pasture tucked away among the developments that pop up in suburbia. Needless to say, fields. Lots of fields.

Whenever I pass by one that includes livestock, there is something that always strikes me as strangely funny. First, it’s curious how the weather never seems to bother the animals. Have you ever noticed that? It can be way below freezing or sweltering, and there stand the horses and cows, just as they always have. Tails swaying, stationery, not too distressed about what’s happening with the weather. I can’t stand the hot, humid summers of the Midwest. For this girl, who was born with a head of wavy hair, the humidity is like a death sentence for any amount of time I spend trying to style my mane. I’ve tried every product, every technique. In the end, I resort to a ponytail for the work-week, and a ball cap at all other times in the summer. There are no other options. Still, I love the fall and spring seasons that come with living in the center of the US, so I take the good with the bad. But those horses and cows never seem to mind. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

The other thing I always notice is that those cows never stop grazing. Ever. Have you ever seen a cow who isn’t eating?? Now the horses are a more varied animal. Sometimes they’re standing, sometimes they’re casually plodding along, sometimes they are galloping around. But cows, they eat and sleep. Though I don’t witness the sleeping very often. It’s mostly eating. All. The. Time. Heads down, snouts nestled into the dusty earth, munching away at whatever they happen to find as they snack their way through the day. All this eating serves people well, for our purposes. Omaha is known for good steak, after all.

My sweet friend, April, and I were musing about this recently. About these cows who can’t stop eating long enough to lift their heads. And then it hit both of us at the exact same time—there’s a word to share, a devotional in that somewhere. I love how Father does that, falls onto pairs of people at the same time with His wisdom. The synergy is all kinds of invigorating and fabulous.

The Word of God says to feed on good things. 1 Corinthians 10:3 talks about eating spiritual food, and 1 Peter 2:2 compares the Word to the unquestionably nourishing and wholly perfect milk that newborns eat. Hebrews 5 says that the Word can be more like solid food for mature followers to sink their teeth into. Revelations 2:7 grants us food from the Tree of Life. If we ate junk all the time and never fostered our bodies with vitamins and minerals, we’d be messes. Riddled with disease and oppressed by fatigue, it wouldn’t feel much like living at all. Father’s master design was that we would feast on the rich and altogether perfect foods found in other parts of His creation. And any simple Google search will list for you the many ways each individual element helps to keep the body running like a fine-tuned machine. The lack of these would mean an early death to us. But our spirits need to eat too. And just like those trees filled with tasty fruit, made to care for the newly crafted bodies of Adam and Eve, God also designed His word to be exactly what we need to stay emotionally and spiritually healthy.

My Father also reminds us to keep our eyes lifted to the Heavens. And the reason is simple. It’s really hard to see anything else but the ground when you’re looking down. When we lift our gazes, we can see what’s right in front of us and follow a clear path, keep our balance, avoid falls. We’re also gifted with peripheral vision, so that those who would attempt to sneak up on us are thwarted. (I’m looking at you, enemy. He’s a creep.) And when we tilt our heads back and look upward, we can see FAR. The average human eye can plainly see the very distant Saturn in the solar system, which sits 1.5 billion km away from Earth. Think on that for a minute, folks.

Grass on the ground is good for cows. They were made to eat at a constant pace and they do it well. But looking down and feeding on junk won’t work for the sons and daughters of the King. We need more and thankfully, the King of all Kings has provided it. Our good Shepherd calls us in from the fields and prepares a place for us as His table with plentiful food. Today, I encourage you to do this: Look up, breathe in deep and eat your fill from the goodness of Him.

Looking upward,
Mande

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