I'm reading what I affectionately refer to as The Sheep Book, for one of my bible studies, and this week's chapter looks at the line in Psalm 23 "He makes me lie down in green pastures." The cool thing about the book is that it's written by a former shepherd and a pastor, so he offers really great insights into the heart of the relationship between sheep and their shepherd.
The tenderness with which the shepherd beholds his sheep with is surprisingly intimate and self-sacrificially beautiful. There are four things that the sheep must be free of before they will lie down. These are the following: freedom of hunger, freedom of insects and pests, freedom of flock tensions, and freedom of fear of attack. While he drew multiple parallels between the plagues of the sheep and the plagues of mankind, the overarching thread was that the presence of the Shepherd comforted the sheep so much, that tensions dissipated, fear was quelled, and dwelling in the Good Shepherd's care meant that no insects "bugged" (hah) the flock, and they were never without food.
And that's the bottom line through and through-the presence of the Father is all that we need in this life. His presence is where we draw comfort from. His presence is what sustains us.