because He Is The Shepherd…

Psalm 23

The Lord—Our Shepherd

1 The Lord is my Shepherd. I will have everything I need. 2 He lets me rest in fields of green grass. He leads me beside the quiet waters. 3 He makes me strong again. He leads me in the way of living right with Himself which brings honor to His name. 4 Yes, even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid of anything, because You are with me. You have a walking stick with which to guide and one with which to help. These comfort me. 5 You are making a table of food ready for me in front of those who hate me. You have poured oil on my head. I have everything I need. 6 For sure, You will give me goodness and loving-kindness all the days of my life. Then I will live with You in Your house forever.

I was asked to ponder and then write a prayer expressing gratitude for His goodness and kindness today…I couldn’t.  Please understand, it’s not because He hasn’t been good and kind (after all, He Is Good and Kind); the silence comes from a place deep within myself.  Ann Voskamp begins one of her chapters in One Thousand Gifts this way…”God and I have long since had trust issues…”  I believe I wrote the word “Amen” beside that.

This is the time of year when I usually go around singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time…”  This year, I have had to have my children sing to me to brighten my spirit.

I have been affected by so much.  Sermons from here.  Teams going here.  Our lack.  Our excess.  Can I really thank God for something that we chose to go into debt for…because isn’t His will that we don’t?  So is saying “thank you” for this and that really acceptable?  Did He want me to have it at all?  Should I be saying “Forgive me” instead?

I want to enjoy the gifts my husband got me, but instead of relaxing in them, I sit half-way rigid.  Is this really where He was trying to “lead me”?  Is there no rest because I have chosen a wider path?  Or have I given rights to the Prince of this World that he has no claim to?   Or am I just feeling the needed effects of His rod and staff?

He is good and kind, but I have chosen the goods and the kinds – the temporary over the eternal.  “Though I walk through the valley…I will fear no…”  I am afraid, though; the soul shakes like the leaves off trees.  “God and I have long since had trust issues…”

Oh, how I have longed for fields of green grass and to sit beside quiet waters!  Instead I have craved in the desserts and wept waters…howling.

I have wondered over and over as I study the Fruits of the Spirit, how am I filled with more of Him?  Will it ever happen?  Will there ever be more than a drip here and there?  I could use a flood!  Will the strength come?  Will I be that daughter who brings honor to His Name?  Will my decisions…my reactions…my spending ever match His?  Has He provided all I need to have me squander it, and is He saying “No more?”

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19 Remember my trouble and my traveling from place to place, the wormwood and bitter feelings. 20 I remember it always, and my soul bows down within me.21 But this I remember, and so I have hope22 It is because of the Lord’s loving-kindness that we are not destroyed for His loving-pity never ends.23 It is new every morning. He is so very faithful24 “The Lord is my share.” says my soul, “so I have hope in Him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the one who looks for Him. 26 It is good that one should be quiet and wait for the saving power of the Lord. 27 It is good for a man to carry the load while he is young28 Let him sit alone and be quiet when God has laid the load on him. 29 Let him put his mouth in the dust. There may be hope yet. 30 Let him give his face to the one who hits him, and be filled with shame. 31 For the Lord will not turn away from a man forever. 32 For if He causes sorrow, He will have loving-pity because of His great loving-kindness33 He does not want to cause trouble or sorrow for the children of men. 34 He is not pleased when all those on earth who are in prison are crushed under foot. 35 The Most High is not pleased when the rights are kept away from a man who is before Him, 36 and when wrong is done to him in his cause. The Lord is not pleased with these things. 37Who has said that something would happen and then it did happen, unless the Lord has said that it should be? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and bad come?  Lamentations 3 NLT

You are with me…For sure, You will give me goodness and loving-kindness all the days of my life. Then I will live with You in Your house forever…

Not because I am a sheep, but because He is The Shepherd.

Silent night, Holy night, All is calm

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Father, You are GOOD.  It’s your KINDNESS, not your anger or disappointment, that leads me to REPENTANCE. Truly, it’s Your FAVOR that’s my desire.  Whether or not I am good, though, Your sun and moon will still shine. Your stars will continue to fill the expanse of the sky.  Days will begin, and they will end. 

Your GOODNESS has made the valleys into straight ways, mountains into flat-lands, storms into pleasant rains, bitterness into sweetness, ashes into beauty.  Your KINDNESS has given me a Face to turn my eyes upon, open arms to run into, wings within to find shelter and comfort, a salvation to hope for.

You are GOOD and You are KIND and I am YOURS.  I have long since had trust issues…help my unbelief. 

Thank you for my unbelief…for You are here still.  Thank you for the trembling…for You are steady here.  Thank you for this longing to be filled…for You overflow.  

Your love is better than life…

56 You have heard my voice. Do not close Your ears to my cry for help. 57 You came near when I called You, and You said, “Do not be afraid!” Lamentations 3 NLT