The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.
I always have more than enough.
He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where he restores and revives my life.
Lord, even when your path takes me through
the valley of deepest darkness,
fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace.
The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
At the beginning of March, those of us living in the UK were just beginning to come to terms with the way our lives would change going forward. The atmosphere, the news, and nearly every conversation around me was filled with anxiety, fear and a stunned anticipation of the unknown.
As I turned to God in my prayer times, I felt led back to this familiar Psalm. Psalm 23 has been a common resort for those seeking comfort, and the words fall off my tongue without me having to really engage with it. So I read it in the Passion Translation, and framed in new-to-me words, I saw them in a new light.
I had always read this Psalm as though it were about the sheep. The sheep who was worried about provision; the sheep who was tired; the sheep who was in need of peace, restoration and reviving. The sheep who was in a dark valley and needed to make sense of it all. So many times I identified with feeling like that.
But I had missed the point entirely. This Psalm, as its title, The Good Shepherd tells us, is about the Lord. The Lord, who promises more than enough; who recognises my weariness and offers me rest in His luxurious love. Who is Love and that takes away my fear. Who is in control of everything and the source of my peace. Who can restore and revive me – even when I’m in a dark valley.
The word most commonly used for “shepherd” is taken from the root word ra‘ah, which is also the Hebrew word for “best friend.” And as I come to my Great Shepherd in whatever shape I am in, He gives of Himself to me so kindly, as only a best friend would.
Many people are reaching out to us for pastoral care at the moment. are facing financial insecurity, sleepless nights and an anxious heart. It is our joy to gently lead them to the Good Shepherd; to listen and pray with them as he trades their fear for peace, their sleepless nights for rest, their financial worries for ‘more than enough’.
Thank you for all the ways you support us to stand in the gap for people at this time. We are so grateful for you.
This Easter, may you also know the presence of the risen Jesus, who is Comfort, and Peace, and Life and ‘More than enough’.
The Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.