The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. ~Psalm 23:1-2
Our just turned 3 year old son is learning how to “stay dry” all night, so most mornings around 4:30 or 5 he will wake up needing a potty run. Normally this is a sleepy occurrence that I orchestrate as smoothly as possible and tuck him back into bed without much conversation or lights. One morning however was different. He awoke anxious and fretful, and as I quickly helped him get to the bathroom, he kept asking me where I was.
“But I can’t see you!” was his repeating refrain to which I kept replying, “I’m right here with you, buddy.”
“Don’t leave me!”
“I promise I’m not. I am right here with you in the dark. You are fine. I love you.”
I tucked him back into bed, sang him a few songs, and whispered, “I love you so much.” A sleepy “I love you too Mom.” came back as he drifted back to sleep.
And just like that, the Holy Spirit slammed into my soul with the truth that oftentimes this is me. And His heartbeat is far more trustworthy and true. His presence much more powerful and safe. His love more steadfast and his kindness far deeper than mine.
There are dark seasons and I sit, feeling exposed and vulnerable. I may be tired and perhaps confused, yet He stands right there with me. I worry about what I can and cannot see that will be on this path. He guides, protects, holds me tight, and carries me out. I panic, fearing the worst and work myself into a state of exhaustion. He makes me lie down and rest my weary self. Thoughts that this time I am alone are confronted by the truth that He comforts and He never leaves.
Psalm 23 echoed in my mind early that morning in the bathroom and as I tucked him back into bed for a few more hours of sleep. You are with me. The Great Shepherd tends his sheep with diligence and strength. I shall not want. He brings true rest and restoration to the anxiety-riddled, weary souls. He leads me beside waters of rest. He restores my soul. He doesn’t allow us to wander aimless and insecure, alone in the darkness of the next step. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. And in those seasons that feel as if the darkness is a blanket, suffocating and terrifying, in the shadowy places where hopeless thoughts assail, lies abound, and paralysis creeps in, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. His guidance and His protection will lead back to rest and comfort. He is at work even in times where it seems that all hope is lost. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. A walk with Him is filled with great spiritual bounty as He deepens my trust in Him.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.