By Merea

It was my birthday in March.

I had been going through a really hard time. It was on the heels of one of the most stressful years of my life, but there wasn’t a particular tragedy or event or illness I could point to. 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.

I started reading in the Psalms and couldn’t get past the 23rd. 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. Whoa. Holy smokes. Let’s just stop right there.

There were so many things I wanted. I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to express my hurt and have people understand and validate me. I wanted to be in a different stage of life than I was in, be a more understanding and gracious person, be the best employee I could be. I wanted to not be flawed, for people to see me as a wonderful, loving and strong woman. I wanted miraculous peacemaking to happen where everybody would get along, see the best in me, and I would love them and the world would be flowery with beautiful colors and happy music playing. Blah blah blah.

But.

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. It took me a minute to get passed the “I shall not want” thing, but eventually I moved on to the next verse:

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. That morning I walked downstairs to find in the dining room, a table prepared for me. It had flowers, greenery, beautiful food and about 10 place settings. My dearest friends had gathered to celebrate with me. I got a lump in my throat, realizing what the Lord was doing for me in that moment, remembering what he had been teaching me in the 23rd Psalm. 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