Today’s reflection from a friend Alan Shepherd.
..." Even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I'll never be lonely, for you are near."
A verse or a portion of scripture can have meaning on different levels for many people. At a superficial level it could relate to our name or what we work at. On a deeper level it might be connected with worship and praise, a life-shaping event, a place of great significance to us, or a person who has been a spiritual parent along much of our life's journey.
Psalm 23 has been pretty well all of the above for me. It's very much connected with my family name. It was one of the first portions of scripture I learnt off by heart as a child. But the last three years have added extra dimensions and depth. For so many people this period has been unbelievably tough. At may levels -individually - family - community - nation - globally - we have been severely shaken, intensely squeezed and vigorously sifted.
Yet I can say that we as a family have felt supported and strengthened in this time of trial. It has enabled (even forced) us to slow down, to refocus on the important and truthful things of life.
Out with Covid and the various lockdowns our family has had to face difficult, potentially life-threatening health issues over the same three years. During that period Psalm 23's words have taken on a profoundly deeper meaning which has and is both challenging and yet comforting. This for me is especially seen in verse 4. It's a verse that reminds of what happened that first Easter at Gethsemane and then at Calvary. But infinitely more significantly what took place that first easter Sunday in the garden and the empty tomb.
God doesn't promise us that we won't have to deal with enemies, evil, fear or death. He has simply said that in spite of them, indeed sometimes in their very midst, His provision will be overflowing, in great surplus. Repeatedly, at times when we've been feeling low, He has generously saturated us with His joy and His peace. For the journey ahead of us we hold on with confidence to the Lord's my Shepherd (Yahweh Roi): I have all I need.
- Praise God for His ability to care for you.
- Give thanks for the way Almighty God has been your faithful Shepherd.
- Confess any tendency you might have to allow fear to shape your responses to life.
-Ask the Lord to restore your soul and give you the peace that passes all understanding.