Sometimes when life seems to be overwhelming, even temporarily, we can forget that God is in control of everything. We can come to a place that we spend so much time trying to work things out that we forget that God has already masterfully mapped things out.
Recently I’ve been processing a number of things. In the midst of my seemingly endless mental processing, a sermon taken from the 23rd Psalm recently convicted my spirit, as I realized that I was exhausting myself in an effort to be the shepherd and not the sheep. I forgot that God’s mind, plans and ways are higher and more wonderful than my own and all I needed to do was to place the fullness of every situation in His hands, as the 23rd Psalm clearly instructs me to do so.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
I don’t have to worry about provision, protection or shelter because that is the job of the shepherd. My level of confidence is dependent on how much I trust the one who is leading me. In the past I had reason to worry because I was depending on my own strength, intellect, talents, friends or family to lead me. No matter how wonderful these sources may seem, they are built upon humanity and humanity has its frailties. I can rest because my shepherd is the Lord, maker of the heavens and the earth.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
As His sheep, sometimes I don’t know where to go, what to do or how to behave when I get there. Sometimes, a shepherd has to make the sheep lie down. There have been times in my life that God had to create circumstances to make me be still. Yet, when I was still I found that I was not unproductive – I was in the best possible place to be restored, renewed and fed. God places me in situations that I can handle and guides me away from fast living.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even under His divine care, I am going to need my soul restored. Even living a saved life, I will have troubles. I am going to need the Lord to build me back up when I am weak, which He promises to do! Everyone knows that I am a sheep of the Lord so it is important to Him that His name not be tarnished as people look at me. My condition speaks not only of myself but of Him. It is His pleasure to bless me!
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
As a Christian I am going to encounter circumstances that feel like death is looming. I may deal with a closing business, an ending marriage or a child who will not accept correction but the Lord will be with me in any of the situations that I face in my valley.
The rod (the straight stick) is for guidance of the sheep and fighting of threats to the sheep. The staff (the curved stick) is for snatching me back when I am out of place. Knowing that God will fight for me AND correct me gives me comfort.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
My enemies do not have the capacity to cut me off from the things that God has in store for me. Anointing my head with oil symbolizes purpose, reminding me that my existence on earth was not an accident or the result of a cosmic collision; it was masterfully purposed by God to do a work in the world for Him. God will bless me to a place of overflowing! He has more to give me than I have room to receive – our shepherd is not limited by the economy, distance, time or treachery.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
I have confidence in knowing that I am not alone as I live my life in the grace and presence of the Lord. Goodness and mercy are with me everywhere I go and I will always be a part of the family of God as long as I choose Jesus to shepherd me as savior and Lord.