“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will 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 anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23
When I’m suffering or facing a problem, it’s usually hard for me to trust that God is in control and that he wants what’s best for me. I know Psalm 23 in my head, but getting it to stick in my heart is a different story. I tend to let the circumstances of my life define who God is, rather than trusting who the Bible says he is. . . my heavenly Father. . . my Protector. . . my Shepherd.
As his little lamb, I am forgetful. I wander away from him, and I think I know the best way to run my life. On my own, I end up alone and afraid, unable to believe that a good God would allow hard things to happen in my life.
Psalm 23 reminds me that my Good Shepherd, Jesus, has laid down his life for me. Because my Shepherd is always with me, nothing comes in or out of my life without passing through Him. So if there’s something difficult going on, for some reason (that I may never know) he allows it into my life to shape me and draw me closer to him.
He wants what’s best for me, and he has an eternal purpose in mind. Because of this eternal purpose, Jesus was able to forsake his kingly glory long enough to come to earth to show each of us what a tender Shepherd our God is.
Jesus faced horrible humiliation, loss, death, and separation from his Father so that we don’t have to experience these things eternally. Our Shepherd gently leads us and provides for his sheep as only the most perfect Shepherd of our souls can do.