One of the blessings of going to boarding school is that we learnt scripture and many of those scripture have become life scriptures for me. My favourite is Psalm 23. My kids learnt this when they were 2 and can still recite it but the reality of it’s meaning will not have its greatest effect until they face trouble. Jesus myself said ‘In this world you will have trouble’. Favour in the midst of trouble is far more meaningful than life being trouble free. In this Psalm we are confronted with the issues of trouble and comforted with greater reality of the Favour of God.
Psalm 23:1-6 NIV
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
This week one of our church families lost a member of their family suddenly. Being part of such a strong church family and community means that we have all felt it. It was sudden and has come as a shock to many of our extended church family. This Psalm is a great reminder the Favour of God does not mean a trouble free life. Jesus promised that in this world we would have trouble and this psalm is a gentle reminder of that reality but also who Jesus in in that reality. It doesn’t promise us that we will have no trouble but it points out the provision of the shepherd in the midst of it. As we walk through the valley of the shadow of death and the mountains cast their shadow on our lives, the comfort of his presence is significant. This is a Psalm that helps us see his Favour in whatever trouble we are facing. This Psalm confronts our doubts and fears with the truth in a profound way.
I have also loved watching our church provide the tangible evidence of the favour of God to this family. They have stepped up to care and provide and be present, give strength and surround this family with love and prayer and courage. There is something beautiful to observe when you see the Sisterhood in action showing the Favour of God in tangible ways. Thanks Hills Church for being the Favour of God to a family in their valley.
This Psalm is for you in your valley too. Let the reality of the trouble you may be facing be confronted with the truth of a Shepherd who brings the comfort of his favour to confront the trouble and draw you through to the other side. Don’t just see the valley and the want but look to the Shepherd.