One of my favorite passages of scriptures is Psalm 23.
While attending church as a boy, I can remember taking time to memorize it. I learned about the good shepherd who watches over his people. The psalm also speaks to how faithful God is, and that he is concerned for our well-being.
On more than one occasion, the psalm has been a life saver and gave me comfort when I felt alone or while facing painful situations. The truth is, every promise found in the text brings joy to my heart and soul whenever I read them.
This psalm is usually shared during Christian funerals and memorial services to remind people that God is near, especially during the loss of a loved one or friend.
He is the one who can bring peace and healing when everything around you seems to be falling apart.
God also understands our pain, and is in the business of restoring lives. As a chaplain, I have seen the hope and restoration that this passage brings to people who are hurting.
The 23rd Psalm also paints a beautiful picture of who God really is. He is the good shepherd who leads and guides us through every season of our life.
The Lord is with us when life is calm and peaceful, and he is with us when things are dark and it seems all hope is lost.
He protects us when we have a bullseye on our backs, and he is the one who blesses our lives from start to finish.
What is interesting about this psalm is God does not say we won’t have trouble or face hard times. The reality is that life can be difficult at times.
What God does promise is that he will walk beside us in the bad times just as he has in the good. We just have to be willing to acknowledge his lordship - to include letting him take the lead as shepherd.
So are you facing a dark valley today? Do you have marital problems, or are you facing financial hardship? Is it hard for you to find a reason to get out of bed, or keep a positive outlook on life during the holidays? Have you lost a loved one recently, and are struggling to find peace?
Whatever storm is in your life right now, know that there is a good shepherd who cares about you.
When things get out of control, are too much to handle, or when you need a reminder of how much God cares for you, look to Psalm 23 for guidance and hope.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 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. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”