How did I get here? Where am I going? And how do I get there? During these summer months, these could easily be questions from the mouth of a confused vacationer on a travelling adventure. Yet, they could just as easily be questions from the heart of a pilgrim on the journey of life. As life questions, they are not easy ones, yet they are also not bad ones. Amidst the hectic pace we keep, it can be very valuable to slow down, quiet our bodies, minds and spirits, and reflect on how we might answer these questions in the presence of our God. In the midst of my own life, God often catches my attention and slows me down through music . . . and for different seasons there have been different songs. Lately I have discovered and been turning to Chris Tomlin’s “All the Way my Saviour Leads Me,” and then moved on from it to reflect again on the rich beauty of the 23rd Psalm. In the process, God quiets my often restless soul.
Quietness and reflection are gifts received from within, not divorced from, the ongoing realities of life. Even from the stillness, I look around me and I recognize that life is not easy. Hurts, disappointments, and trials are companions as real to us as joy, fulfillment, and hope. As I try to reconcile life’s journey with the words of the Psalmist and the songwriter, I am reminded of the truth that binds it all together . . . our Shepherd God’s loving presence. No matter where we are, where we have come from or where we are going, God is with us carrying us close to his heart. Yes, we do fall along the way and there are very real dark valleys, but the miracle remains that in all this, Jesus is present in love–to lead us, to pick us up, to carry us, and ultimately to love us to the very end.
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 . . . Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:1,2,6
Take time to read slowly and reflectively through Psalm 23: 1-6
Prayerfully ask: How has Jesus shepherded me?
How can I receive his shepherding love in new and continuing ways?
Listen prayerfully to All the Way My Saviour Leads Me:
Prayer: Lord Jesus, in this moment, I turn to you and thank you that you are always with me as the Shepherd of my life. In good times and in hard times, help me to trust you, depend fully on your grace, and live in your loving presence, for I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Contributed by Carla Olsen Draper