“The Lord is my shepherd…”
The 23rd Psalm describes the nature of a loving relationship with God. It defines what trust is. It speaks of the faith we have in our Creator God who leads us, refreshes us, guides us, comforts us, treats us well in the presence of our enemies, and anoints us. He is our shepherd, we, the sheep of His pasture. How could I want for anything when He is doing everything for each of us. We don’t have to worry about a thing as He takes care of the littlest need or fear.
For the last year or two I have really thought about the word “Surely” in this psalm. The word has been resounding in my mind. Surely, always, without fail, definitely, without a doubt. Here are some more synonyms for surely: “firmly, steadily, confidently, solidly, securely, unhesitatingly, unfalteringly, unswervingly, determinedly, doggedly, assuredly.” How can I not trust in God, have real faith in Him? That word “surely” rings in my mind with conviction: that I will be taken care of, surely, that I will be accompanied, surely, that I can absolutely count on Him.
And what else is there to fear, to deny, to cease to think of other than all the fears and anxieties that are so present in our world today, if I believe this psalm. There is nothing that can daunt me, that can make me forget His providence, that can pull me off this beautiful track of trust and faith.
He is certainly trusting me when He takes such good care of me. I am sure He expects or at least hopes that, in turn, I will be faithful to Him in all things, devoted to what He asks of me, assured of His love and caring. When I open my eyes to His care and support, then I am beholden to Him for everything else. And what a joy it is to forget about taking care of myself.
I live in gratitude for all that He does for me. For all that He asks of me that I wouldn’t consider on my own. For all the richness in my life. For my family and my companions along the way. For a purposeful and a rich life. For His presence every day and all that He does on my and others’ behalf. For the beauty of this earth everywhere I look. For the work He has given me which just seems to echo everywhere in my life. For my children and grandchildren who have enriched my life so completely. The list is endless, because it is through gratitude to the Lord that I see so clearly who He is and what He does for me, for us all. I’ve kept a gratitude journal for 6 or 7 years. Just writing down what I am grateful at the end of each day helps me see clearly what God is doing in my life, here, today, in this moment. And so I continue the practice every night before bedtime.
I want to know how Psalm 23 plays out in my life. How He leads me, refreshes me, comforts, leads and guides me. I want to have concrete evidence of His caring and assistance for me. I want to know so I can express my gratitude for all that He is to me, even the things that slip past my notice. I am sure that He is helping me throughout my days, but how much help am I totally unaware of?
When I look back on my life, even to the times when I was totally unaware of Him, before I had pledged my life to Him, I can see His footprints everywhere, holding my hand, guiding me out of the hell-fire-and-damnation beliefs I grew up with, shaping my life. And I am so grateful for His support and love.
The Psalm reminds me of all His caring and that I can rest fully in His arms. It echoes my “theme” song of the last month or so: “Why not take all of me? Can’t you see I’m no good without you?” The Psalm is asking us to live in a place of faith and trust, where nothing that we need is withheld, where everything is offered for our own good. I just want to nestle in those words, in His arms and live in that reality! Amen!
Questions to ponder over the week: Do I live the 23rd Psalm’s faith and trust in God in my life? Am I at peace? Can I relax in His care? Do I look to other gods or even myself to lean on or am I committed to God? Does the word “surely” resound in my life as in “Surely, your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever?”
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who live in love and trust and dependence on our God for our lives and what we are to do in them. May we relax and let God worry about the as yet unseen challenges. May we be at peace because of our faith and trust in God.
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 Psalm 23
 “All of me” a song by Billie Holiday