July 29, 2019

Weekly Reflection – The Lord Is My Shepherd

Weekly Reflection –  The Lord Is My Shepherd

The Lord is My Shepherd is probably the best known stanza from Psalm 23. This past week I spent some hours hiking in the forest. It is “backpack training” time, as I prepare for a three-night, 43 KM adventure that is coming up.

For me, hiking like this is a special time to meditate and commune with God. Yesterday, for example, I focused on the 23d psalm, the Shepherd Psalm. As I walked along with a 30-pound pack on my back and using two trekking poles for balance, I simply recited the 23d psalm. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…” But I was reciting it very slowly and savoring each word or phrase.

There was no hurry to complete the recitation. It was the reflection that was important. What does having a personal Shepherd mean? How does it feel? Can I handle it?

Three phrases eventually jumped out at me. They are presented in “rapid-fire” order, one right after the other. First, “He restores my soul.” Second, “He guides me in the paths of righteousness.” And third, “Even if I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil.”

1. Restoring my soul sounds on a practical level like receiving a “second breath” after I’ve been battered by life’s difficulties — or carrying a 30-pound backpack. For that, I am thankful.

2. Walking in a righteous path, a journey that I could not achieve on my own, it is His power that enables one to “toe the line,” even on a forested trail.

3. I will fear no evil, not even when that cotton-mouth moccasin crossed my path and slithered off into the pond (He saw me before I saw him). This fearlessness is echoed by Jesus many times in the gospels as he tells his disciples to “fear not.” And he wasn’t talking just about snakes.

So, we are empowered to walk without fear, be rejuvenated by a restored soul, and enjoy walking in righteousness. Then, the psalm ends with, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” What more could one want? For that and all the other points made in this short six verse psalm, I am thankful.

Blessings and peace,

Chaplain Allen


Read more reflections, The Lord is My Data Processor