“I lack nothing.” Hummm…well, I am willing to bet that the majority of us would have claimed that to be a true statement for ourselves just a few weeks ago. But, today? Today may be a different story. Today, we may hear:
  • “I lack the skills (and patience!) to homeschool my kids.”
  • “I lack the job that was once so secure but was just laid off.”
  • “I lack the freedom to visit my parent in the nursing home.”
  • “I lack the joy of seeing my high schooler enjoy the remainder of his senior year.”
  • “I lack basic necessities that were once in abundance.”
“I lack nothing.” In light of our current reality, these three words may ring hollow for us. But, let’s remember that they comprise the second half of an important statement: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.” Because I follow Jesus, I lack nothing. Because my God is my provider, I lack nothing. God assures us over and over that He will care for us. Will He always care for us in such a way that we would hope or design? No; that is clear. But, He will care for us. (Matthew 6:31-32; Romans 8:32; Phil 4:19)

 

Now, let’s consider the second part of today’s passage: “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” What kind of sheep lies down in a plush, plentiful pasture? One who is full. One who has eaten until content enough to lie down and rest. One who is able to close its eyes, knowing that the shepherd who has earned its trust will care for and protect it through the night. Yesterday, we described a good shepherd as one who nurtures, guides, and protects. When we imagine a sheep lying in green pasture, it is clear that this sheep lacks nothing.

 

The other night I found myself wide awake at 3:30am. Before I knew it, my mind was weighted with worry. As if there were an uncontrollable ping pong ball bouncing around, my thoughts raced:
  • “What if one of my loved ones gets sick?”
  • “What about the national economy? Can it rebound?”
  • “What if we can’t pay our bills?”
  • “Will my sons succeed at online learning?”
  • “When will this end?”
Then, thankfully, the beginning words of Psalm 23 came to mind. And, I comically imagined myself as a stuffed sheep cozied into a bed of plush grass, flopped over on its side with her belly so full that her top legs stuck straight into the air. I imagined Jesus beside me- not as a cheesy shepherd with winged hair gripping a staff. But, as my Good Shepherd, one who I could trust because He’s never failed me yet. He’s never stopped nurturing, guiding, and protecting me. We have a God who never sleeps, so there’s no need for both of us to stay awake. So, channeling my inner plump sheep, I fell asleep counting my “green pastures”:
  • quality time with my family
  • good books to read
  • a job that I love
  • technology that allows me to connect with loved ones
  • shelter, food, and running water
  • beautiful spring weather

To leave you with an additional connection to consider personally…

John 6:35: “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.'”
In light of what we are learning from Psalm 23, how does this verse speak to you?