As long as I can remember, the words to the 23rd Psalms have been a part of my life. Having memorized this passage as a child, the words are as familiar to me as the Pledge of Allegiance. Unfortunately, they were merely that...words. Until recently, that is.
After eighteen successful years in my career of choice, God began to lead me in a new direction. He had a plan. A Psalms 23 kind of plan. While circumstances in my life seemed out of my control, I now know they were never out of God's control.
He knew I would never venture away from the familiarity and "safety" of my job on my own, so He allowed what had always been a comfortable and preferred environment, to become a place of unrest and misery for me. Through each trial and each unpleasant experience, God was leading me away from an old, familiar place toward something new.
Thus began my journey with the Shepherd. He led and I followed. While the way wasn't always clear to see, the love and faithfulness of my Heavenly Father became clearer and clearer with each and every step. Like David, I was no longer simply speaking the words of his psalm, but instead living them. The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. As we walked together, God was faithful to provide for my every need. After several years of searching and seeking, God led me to a new place of employment.
Recently, a friend asked me how I liked my new job. The words from my mouth surprised even me. "I love my new job. It is so peaceful and stress free. I find myself laughing again and thoroughly enjoying my life. It's as though God led me to a place of rest!" He maketh me lie down in green pastures, beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.
From this place of rest, I can look back over my life and see heartprints of God's love every step of the way. Through the ups and down, the highs and the lows, He IS there. Through the times of plenty and the times of need, He IS there. Through the times of laughter and yes, in the times of sorrow, He IS there. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evi: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Truly, I am blessed.
Daily my loving Shepherd has led me through the valleys, over the mountain tops, and beside the still waters. Through this journey with Him, I have never been out of His care or without His love. Like David, I can rejoice in my God...and I can rest in His guardianship. The Shepherd knows the way that is best. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.