Beside the Still Waters

In my little corner of the world, the earth is thick with spring. Delicate pink cherry tree petals cartwheel across sidewalks in the breeze. The grass deepens and yellow butterweed flourishes along the tree-lined creek bank. Early flowering honeysuckle emits its first glorious aroma into the cool afternoon air. But even as such beauty blooms, all across the globe, the world is thick with virus.

As spring advances, so does the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

The serenity of my creek-side nature walks over the past couple of weeks—both in my neighborhood and at my favorite little park, which is now closed—remind me of Psalm 23:1-3:

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

For several weeks I’ve been pondering what I might write in the face of this worldwide crisis. But each day, I can think of nothing more appropriate than that which has already been said in Psalm 23, which has been saturating my spirit since the beginning of the year. The passage has become a personal theme for me in 2020 as I find myself in a season thirsty for deep soul restoration and connection with God. The more I dwell on it, the more significant each line becomes, applicable in different ways at every turn. During my last walk at the park, I recited it over and over as both a form of prayer and meditation to build my spirit and immerse myself in truth.

And soon after that walk, the coronavirus crisis hit me more personally than just having to stay at home. I found out about loved ones with potential exposure to the virus and learned about pay cuts at work to help prevent people from losing their jobs.

More than ever, we need to receive the peace, provision and rest that our Lord promises to give on all levels.

  • For those sick with COVID-19, I pray for the provision of healing that leads to physical restoration.
  • For those medical teams serving contagious patients, I pray for physical protection and the still waters of emotional rest after a long shift.
  • For those feeling the financial impact of this crisis, I pray for the abundance of green pastures, faith to believe “I shall not want,” and the ability to rest without anxiety.
  • For those in the valley of mourning or feeling disconnected from loved ones, I pray for the comfort of the shepherd’s rod and staff (Psalm 23:4).

And for all of us, I pray that we seek for and stay on the paths of righteousness that our holy God empowers us to walk. If you are a follower of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, I pray you will look to Him for all that you need. He is the faithful shepherd who knows how to take care of those willing to come into His fold. If you do not know much about Jesus and are not aware of His gift available to you, I pray that you will hunger to know and to seek the truth about Him.

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

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