The 23rd Psalm used to scare me.
I realize that might be a strange thing to admit, and maybe a stranger thing to be a reality, but nonetheless, it’s the truth.
If you think about it, for a young child there’s a lot of scary words in there -“valley of the shadow of death,” “in the presence of my enemies” even talk of not fearing any evil can be fear-inducing if you don’t really understand what the words mean.
So what was intended to bring comfort brought me concern. As an adult, however, I’ve realized something very important about the 23rd Psalm – God is the One who is doing most of the action.
The reason that the 23rd Psalm brings comfort is because the sheep can trust in the work of the Shepherd. We can have confidence that the One who is in charge will not take us somewhere that He has not already scoped out, ensuring the safety of the sheep’s arrival. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be dangers along the way – after all, sometimes the way to the destination involves some rugged paths. It does mean, however, that He knows how to thwart whatever perils there may be. Like all sheep, our job is to follow. It is the Shepherd who determines the way.
And perhaps, this is scary too. In a day where we are used to precise directions on how to get from Point A to Point B it can be difficult to not know every step along the path. But we don’t have to – because He does. We just need to walk the path that He’s already prepared.