Playground bullies. Fear and stress grow. However, anxieties melt away with just the smile and the reassuring embrace from a loving father. Peace, safety and wholeness fills one’s being.
This is the type of comforting presence the Psalmist describes as he reflected upon his relationship with God. Listen again to his deep soul satisfying relationship. He knows the nature of his Shepherd. And it is because he knows that God is able to provide for his deepest needs, in spite of the lurking dangers and threats, that his inner being lies at rest. These are the words of a secure relationship built upon knowing that God’s lovingkindness personally pursues him.
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He takes me to lush pastures, he leads me to refreshing water. He restores my strength. … Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me. … Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days, and I will live in the LORD’s house for the rest of my life (Psalm 23:1,4,6 NET).
Whenever people cling to such modern idols as finances, influence or even another person for their security and significance, experiencing the type of relationship with God that the Psalmist describes will remain elusive. Security built upon the transitory remains tentative, not profoundly comforting. Sheep do not trust in their shepherd and ___________. They rely upon the shepherd.
We must let go of the cruel promises this world offers before we can fully embrace a sheep-like dependence upon God. We must grind to powder any insidious idol lurking near our hearts before we can fully experience God strengthening our souls and setting our hearts at ease.