The day before everything happened, I wrote in my journal, “Psalm 23 for my 23rd year?”
I wrote this because I had been listening to the song “Twenty-three” by Enter the Worship Circle, and I like that song a lot, especially the repetition of “I will not be in want.” I hoped to declare that over my life, especially as I worried about the details of a trip I’m no longer taking.
I also loved the traditional wording of verse 5, “My cup runneth over.” I made that my Facebook status. I was proclaiming God’s goodness, provision, and sovereignty. I thought it all fit great for the season of life I thought I was entering.
The very next day, my dad went to the emergency room, and that night, he passed away. Perhaps the psalm about walking through the valley of the shadow of death fits this season even more so than I thought. (Yet another thing the Spirit knew that I didn’t. I have to hope–and not grumble– in that, I have to…)
On my plane ride across the country to be with my family, I listened to “Twenty-three” over and over again. The song begins, “Arise, O LORD. Lift up Your eyes. Don’t forget I’m helpless.” I cried out.
Oh, You lead me to waters and pastures so green.
Oh, You pour out Your oil and choose goodness and mercy for me.
No, I will not be in want.
I thought I was scaling a mountain, but now I have fallen off. I’m left to wander in this unforeseen valley, walking under the shadow of death, and I am afraid.
I find it so interesting that Psalm 22 begins, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The same author, David, writes in Psalm 23, “God is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” He felt both emotions, despair and hope, and he felt them strongly. And now, thousands of years later, I feel them too, together at the same time.
The verses I took as promises, I will not be in want, my cup runneth over… they have to still be true. The Father of Heavenly Lights does not change His words just because a shadow has fallen. They don’t feel true right now, though, and the Spirit tells me I need not fear, but I am so afraid…
“Thou art with me.”