Psalm 23:1-4 NKJV
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, 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.
Praise the Lord: praise God our savior!
For each day he carries us in his arms.
Carried by the Shepherd
When I was 24 years old, something happened that forever changed my perspective on life. My brother, John, passed away in a terrible car accident, leaving behind a young family. The Lord was with me through the shock of it, but later there came the questions about why it would happen to such a good person, how unfair it was for his two-year-old son to not have the privilege of knowing him or having his nurture and influence as a father. I was sad for my sister-in-law, my parents and my nephew.
John wasn’t just any big brother, he was much older than I, old enough to be my dad. He was the one who was there for me when my emotionally distant father wasn’t. John was the one who played games with me, hugged me and as I got older, encouraged my writing; especially since he was an author, too. When John passed away, I lost a not only a wonderful big brother, but a substitute dad, a friend and a mentor.
I threw myself into comforting my parents, because I didn’t know how to grieve. Trying to console the inconsolable was I suppose one way I thought I could make a positive difference. While I’ve never liked the valley of the shadow, I’ve never been good at the process of getting out of it.
We encounter the valley of the shadow of death on so many levels throughout our lives, some not as serious as others, but still a loss. We watch a loved one go through ageing, sickness and death or we attend a funeral or visitation of a friend or acquaintance at the funeral home. There are the sad stories we hear or read about, such as a young person with a happy marriage losing their spouse or children left behind as orphans from some tragic accident.
Then there are other losses we don’t expect to feel so keenly, such as when someone we love changes dramatically and they don’t seem to be the person we once knew. Sometimes friendships change, because of losing contact or unresolved issues. Some people mourn the loss of a pet, a job, or even their home. Even living in a different place can bring a sense of loss of the past.
Earlier this week I read Psalm 68:19 “Praise the Lord: praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.” I had this lovely picture in my mind of Jesus carrying a little lamb in His arms, like the shepherd that He is to us. I sensed a closeness to my Lord, knowing I am one of those lambs He carries each day, staying with me, making sure I rest in the pasture, drink from the Living Water and stay near Him. He will renew me and strengthen me.
Whatever grief is on your heart today, come to Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Let Him comfort You through difficult times. He wants to carry you.
(Sheep is from Microsoft Word Clip Art Animal Package '08)