I’ve now completed four weeks of chemotherapy for my bladder cancer, with two more to go. These recent weeks and months have been quite an ordeal, life-changing really. Old eating habits replaced with new, healthier ones, different exercise regimens, medicines and vitamin schedules to keep up with. Facing cancer has been about the scariest thing I’ve ever been through. Yet I’ve not felt alone, for I know my family, friends, and my Savior have been at my side the entire time, and will continue to be.
I found myself this morning in an old familiar passage in the Old Testament, the 23rd Psalm. As I reread this timeless classic, God spoke its truth into my heart in a refreshing way. Here’s some reflections on this beautiful piece of prose, written by a lowly shepherd who would one day be a king:
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”- my Keeper, my Caretaker, will supply all my needs. (Philippians 4:19)
“He makes me lie down in green pastures”- He gives my heart a resting place, of peace and safety.
“He leads me beside still waters”- God refreshes my dry, thirsty longings. (John 4:14)
“He restores my soul”- He repairs my brokenness, restores me to a right relationship to Him.
“He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”- He Himself leads me along paths that are right in His eyes, for His glory and my good.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me”- even in dark times, as well as adversity in my own life, I need not fear or worry, because God is with me, in the midst. (John 14:27)
“Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me”- He will defend me from my enemies (rod), and will gently prod me to keep following Him (staff). I indeed find great comfort in this.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”- God lavishly provides for and nourishes my life in plain view of those who would wish to see me fall, esp. my ultimate enemy, Satan. It’s as if He blesses me, and rubs the enemy’s nose in it!
“You anoint my head with oil”- as an honored guest at a great banquet, God pours His favor out on me.
“My cups runs over”- as I stop and consider, I am overcome with the realization that I am blessed to overflowing. (Luke 6:38)
“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life”- God’s faithful love and compassion for me will never end. (Hosea 2:19-20)
“I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”- I am more than an honored guest in the house of God (v.5). I am an adopted child, who will dwell (i.e. live in intimate communion) with my Father for all eternity. (John 14:1-3)
May my heart forever sing this beautiful song of the shepherd, to my Shepherd, my Father.