‘…he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.’ (Psalm 23:2-3)

Dear friends,

Our break last week was a much-needed opportunity for a physical and mental  ‘re-set’ as we spent time staying with our son and daughter-in-law at the Northumbria Community, where they live and work.

Amongst other things, we took the opportunity to fulfil one of Pauline’s ‘bucket-list’ ambitions of taking a cruise to visit the Farne Islands to see the puffin colonies there. As we set out, the skipper of the boat warned us in a slightly understated way that ‘the sea’s got a bit of a swell on today’. Thankfully, we didn’t get (too) seasick, and were rewarded when we arrived with close-up encounters with hundreds of puffins and other sea birds on the island cliff-tops.

The choppy waters of the North Sea are not what normally comes to mind when we think of King David’s familiar words in Psalm 23:2, and so whilst they helped us to fulfil an ambition, they were not exactly ‘restorative’ in nature.

On our journey home, however, we spent a day in the Peak District, which included a walk alongside a gentle stream punctuated by several quiet fishponds. We have learnt over the years that this sort of easy walk is one of the ways in which God restores our souls, as we enjoy the surrounding wildlife, take some moderate exercise, and reflect together on life. We imagine these to be the sorts of waters that David had in mind when he wrote Psalm 23 in which the words that we translate as ‘still waters’ literally mean ‘waters of rest’ in the original Hebrew.

Whether or not you have any sort of break planned for the summer, it is important to identify and visit the settings in which you find that God restores your soul. It may not be a babbling brook – it might be a particular viewpoint, or just a favourite chair. Either way, visit these places often. Allow God to restore your soul as he leads you beside ‘waters of rest’ – metaphorical or otherwise – and so to return you to the world better equipped to serve him in the rest of your life.

With our love and prayers,
Matthew and Pauline