Is there a more loved chapter in the Bible than Psalm 23? Doubtful. We are all a bit desperate to know that God does a good job taking care of us. This chapter not only speaks to us, it shouts to us. God give me what I need!
But it doesn't always feel true, does it?
David is absolutely convinced that God gives him rest and nourishment and courage and companionship. He brags about how God protects his body and comforts his heart.
David believes God restores his soul. What does that even mean?
Everything I need? Really?
I have a lot of needs. In many ways, I lack. There always seems to be a chasm between who I want to be and who I am. Between what I should be holding and what's in my hands.
The list on my refrigerator look like this:
2. Chocolate and/or caffeine
6. Real conversations
8. Gentle tones all the way up to bedtime
Is it true that I have everything I need? Because some days it just doesn't feel like the patience and the wisdom are there. Some days I scream "I have unmet needs!!"
You too? Please say it's not just me.
Do you know anyone who is exceptionally motherly?
Go along with me for a minute.
You probably know one sweet woman who would like to mother the whole world. Feed them. Cloth them with the perfect weight jacket for the coolness of the day. Give them advice all the day long.
That maternal figure might want to nurture the world, but she can only really mother those who let her. We can ignore her warnings and turn down her chili, spurning her mothering.
The same is true with the Shepherd. Just because he offers to be our shepherd, doesn't mean he is functioning as one in our relationship.
We have to let him shepherd us.
It is our turn, friends. We must place our sheepish selves under his care. We acknowledge we need him. We listen when he talks and we take his advice. When he points to a resting spot, we take it. When he nudges us into places that take bravery, we walk ahead.
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He might be in the lead but we still have to put one foot in front of the other and follow.
My cup overflows with blessings.
But do we see it? Do we notice the good stuff splashing out over the edges?
He lets me rest in green meadows.
Are we taking him up on the offer? Or are we distracted by the sunshine or by the other guy or by our own expectations?
Once upon a time I missed a great opportunity to rest because I thought rest only looked like inactivity and my soul stayed dry and needy.
Once upon a time I didn't see his rod and his correction as comforting because I preferred to keep going the wrong way.
Once upon a time my strength wasn't enough for my situation because I decided to ignore his leading.
That was yesterday.
Today? Today I'm learning to trust that Shepherd a bit more because I am absolutely needing what he is offering.