It was my birthday in March.
I had been going through a really hard time. But it wasn’t the kind of thing that all pointed to one event that happened or sickness I was dealing with, nothing like that.
It was heartache, hurt. I had lost my bearings. I felt like I had really let some people down. They had also let me down a bit. Things I thought were a certain way, were not that way. And it was painful. I couldn’t really talk about it. I felt alone, misunderstood. A lot of my weakness was exposed. And to top it all off, I had just experienced one of the most stressful years of my life.
I started reading in the Psalms and couldn’t get passed the 23rd one. You know the one. Maybe one of the most famous passages in the Bible. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
I shall not want.
Let’s just stop right there.
Whoa. Holy smokes.
There were so many things I wanted. I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to express my hurt and have people understand. I wanted to be in a different stage of life than I was in, be better at my job, be a more understanding and gracious person. I wanted to please my boss and be the best employee I could be. I wanted to not be flawed, for people to see me a wonderful, loving and strong woman. I wanted this miraculous peacemaking to happen where everybody gets along, sees the best in me and I love them and the world is flowery with beautiful colors and happy music playing. Blah blah blah.
The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.
There is something about that phrase that punches you in the back of the throat and comforts you in the deepest places all at the same time. You see, the soul satisfying truth is: Because God is who He is, I have no want that isn’t satisfied in Him. His presence settles my heart and convinces me that I lack no good thing. No good thing. Not one.
I started dwelling on that Psalm like it was nobody’s business. Shall we move forward to the next verse? Yeah, it took me a minute to get past the “I shall not want” thing too.
He makes me lie down in green pastures
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
Will I feel these feelings of anxiety forever? He makes me lie down and experience still waters. Can restoration actually happen? He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
For his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil, for You are with me
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me
You prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil
My cup overflows.
That’s the next part I could not pass by easily. It hit me so hard.
You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies.
Even when I feel like people are closing in around me, You prepare a table for me. Though my shortcomings and sin can get the better of me, You prepare a table for me. When I feel that the world is chaotic and the pressures seem insurmountable, You prepare a table for me.
Can you picture it? In the midst of enemies. People who are against you, casting insults at you, the Lord says that he prepares a table for you.
Like I said, It was my birthday in March. I walked into my house that morning a little nervous about what was going on. In the dining room, my friends had prepared a table for me. It had flowers, greenery, beautiful food and about 10 place settings. They had taken the time to invite my dearest friends to celebrate with me. When I walked in, nobody was there at first. Immediately I got a lump in my throat and remembered what the Lord does for me in that moment. What he had been teaching me in the 23rd Psalm. He reminded me gently and I was deeply grateful for his tender loving care.
He prepares a table for me. I shall not want.
At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen. -Philippians 4:19
Reflect on this…
- Are there some things in your life that have become a struggle for you because you want them so badly?
- What would it look like to lay what you want at the feet of Jesus and embrace the truth that you lack no good thing in him?
- Is there a chaotic situation or seemingly insurmountable feeling of anxiety plaguing you right now? Take a moment to meditate on that truth: He prepares a table for you. Even in the presence of enemies. Take a seat and feast eternal!