Our Good Shepherd

By Marilyn Crisp

Let us read selected verses from Psalm 23:

1. The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need.

2. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.

4. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. (New Living Translation)

This Psalm expresses complete trust in our Shepherd to provide all our needs, to protect us, and to keep danger at bay. It is the trust displayed by the young Hebrew men, under threat of death, in Daniel 3: 17 (in part):

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us.  But even if He doesn’t, we will never serve your gods.

Jesus had this trust, though He knew what lay before Him as He prayed on the Mount of Olives (Luke 22:42):

Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine.

Right now our world is in a dark valley such as we haven’t known before. The horror of Nova Scotia’s tragedy is much in our minds, amidst the other concerns which have changed our lives. Isn’t this the very time for us to renew our trust in the Good Shepherd?

In chapter 4 of “The God of all Comfort”, author Hannah Whitall Smith quotes a hymn which our choir has sung, “There’s A Wideness in God’s Mercy”:

If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine,
In the sweetness of our Lord.

Hannah writes, “If we but only knew the things that belong to our peace, how quickly we would throw aside every ‘if’ and ‘but’ of unbelief, and how rapturously we would plunge ourselves headlong into an unquestioning faith in all that He has told us of His almighty and never-failing love and care!”

Since Jesus is our Shepherd, and we are His sheep, what should we do? Sheep trust their Shepherd and obey Him, and He does all the rest. Hannah says, “It is very simple. There is nothing complicated in trusting, when the One we are called upon to trust is absolutely trustworthy, and nothing complicated in obedience, when we have perfect confidence in the power we are obeying.”

So, let’s make it simple. Let’s throw ourselves upon the Shepherd’s love and guidance, and trust Him to bring us through these perplexing times, and all other struggles which happen because we live in this world. This sort of trust is never misplaced.

Marilyn Crisp is long time member of Grace and among other things she, currently is member of the choir and a faithful phone caller for those who do not have online access.