Psalm 23 (NRSV)
The picture hanging in the bedroom of many Christian baby-boom children was of a gentle-looking shepherd holding a lamb in a verdant pasture. Jesus had delicate feet and sweet eyes in that rendition.
This psalm favorite is more than a sentimental poem that paints a pretty scene. The Shepherd generously provides what is needed, but the still water is soon disturbed by troubles. As the journey through life becomes treacherous, the powerful Shepherd is a strong protector in dark places and against evil. Right in the face of the enemy, the Shepherd is an unapologetic nurturer.
The Lord does not promise an easy life, but God’s powerful presence transforms painful circumstances and dangerous places. Goodness and mercy pursue you, displacing fear and grief and failure. Why would you want to be anywhere other than with this Shepherd? Your life brims over with love in the Lord’s presence.
Faithful Protector, mark clearly the path you intend us to travel. Help us take time for healing rest and the soul restoration you provide. Amen.