Sometimes, the world in which we live feels chaotic, stressful, uncertain and maybe even hostile. This can be really difficult to navigate, particularly when we have work challenges, family stresses, health struggles, financial difficulties, making important decisions for the future, along with loads more pressures. While I’m thankful that we’re moving forward in relation to recovering from the Covid pandemic, I also know that we can feel and be under tremendous stress in our daily living and we need divine help to keep the proverbial, “wheels on the bus.”
What could such divine help look like? I’ve been thinking about this in the recent week, and I’ve found it helpful to go back to some fundamentals that might seem common but are nonetheless helpful. To this end, I’ve been reminded lately about Psalm 23 and its simplicity along with its deeply soothing truths. Please take a few moments to slowly and with relaxed attention read these words:
- The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
- He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
- He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
- Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
- You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
- Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
In looking at this Psalm, let’s keep in mind that Jesus is our Good Shepherd, and we are His sheep. He knows what we need, and He knows where to lead us for green pastures as well as quiet waters. Of equal importance, we need to recognize and embrace the truth that with Jesus, our lives don’t have to be defined nor described by scarcity or lack. The second part of the first verse says that we don’t have to have deficiency nor lack in our lives – “I shall not want.”
It’s really important to let that truth settle into our hearts, so that with Jesus as our shepherd, we don’t have to lack or live in a scarcity mindset. Additionally, when we let Jesus be our shepherd, He makes us lay down in green pastures, even though we might feel restless or anxious. He also leads us beside still waters, meaning that we can find refreshment in the peaceful places where Jesus leads us, and He restores our soul.
In the next part of the Psalm, we see that Jesus stays with us in adverse circumstances and looks out to protect us as well as provide for us even in the midst of enemies. And as we finish the Psalm, we see that Jesus again emphasizes His abundance in our lives, along with the continual presence of goodness and lovingkindness.
When life gets crazy or overwhelming, you might find it really helpful to settle into Psalm 23 for some help, strength and nourishment for your soul!