The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honour me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
Probably one of the most famous passages in the bible, you don’t need to read your bible or even be a believer to have heard this Psalm, you just have to have been to a funeral.
But it’s so much more than a standard reading for a funeral. This Psalm has brought me so much comfort in the last year, it has been a constant reminder to me that I don’t make this difficult journey alone, that no matter how dark the paths I tread my Father is treading them alongside me, protecting me, guiding me, strengthening me.
Whenever I’ve read this Psalm I’ve felt an enormous sense of God’s peace in my life, that even though I may be in turmoil, walking through the ‘darkest valley’ I have a spirit of peace residing within me, whatever happens in my life, with God I don’t need to simply look forward to ‘green meadows and peaceful streams’ I have that sanctuary right now.
In the early days of the split from my husband when things were very raw and painful, where I could see nothing but a bleak and lonely future I would read Psalm 23 and the sense of fear would lift, I would know that somehow, although I couldn’t see how, somehow I’d be ok.
Last night I read it and felt so incredibly blessed to have had God walking with me on this journey. I was reminded of how far I have come from that broken woman who sat sobbing from morning to night, I can see how much I have been strengthened. And as I read “He guides me along right paths bringing honour to his name” I realised that a lot of the worries I have felt recently about what God’s plans for my life are, and what I should do are needless, he’s walking with me, he’s guiding me, and as long as I look to him he’ll make sure the paths I take in life are the right ones, as long as I continue to look to Jesus he will use me to bring glory to him. And that's what it's all about.
I used to read this Psalm and read the line “I will not be afraid” and say “that’s right, I have no need to fear, it will be ok” now I read it and read “my cup overflows with blessings” I look at my life, I look at my lovely home, my three boys, my wonderful friends and family, I consider the freedom I now cherish, the peace I now enjoy, the love of a saviour who never once abandoned me or let me go and I think “wow, my cup really does overflow with blessings”