We live in a world where it is all about what “you” do…or what you have done…or what you will do. We make plans…small and big…and we know what is going to happen until they change…which happens frequently. Then life happens, and we are sitting around wondering what the heck to do. That doesn’t mean that we quit doing things, but it does mean that we are confused.
A friend of mine gave me a great analogy when his wife died. She had been ill for a while…but he said, “what do I do after the wave hits?” That hit me hard….as a guy who surfs a lot, I know that tossing and turning feeling of not knowing which way is up. Not knowing if you will get a breath again even though the surface is only a few inches away. The desire to breath when the air is burning in your lungs to get out.
But can you imagine how comforting it would be if someone immediately grabs your hand? That assurance that there is at least “somebody” out there that wants to help.
I think that it is best described in Psalm 23. I really detest when that is used at a funeral…because everybody focuses on the Valley of the Shadow of death. NO…NO…NO…Psalm 23 is a psalm of hope and promise. I think David wrote this at the end of his life, where he could reflect on how God was with him when the water was still and after the wave hit him. David was a shepherd, and he knew the heart that a shepherd has for his flock. The modern day version would be the love that we have for our spouse, or kids…or our pets. Let me break it down….and I promise I will be brief.
Psalm 23: 1-3 - The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Dan’s Analysis: When God is the lead of your life, you don’t need anything…He is taking care of everything for you.
a. Green Pastures? Sheep will keep eating at the same spot until there is dirt. There could be more food 50 feet away but they won’t move. The need the shepherd to tell them that it is time to do something different. Just like us.
b. Still Water? Sheep get frightened when the water is moving and even though they are thirsty…they won’t drink. Just like us…we get scared so we won’t do something…even if it is good for us.
c. Paths of righteous for His name’s sake? God blesses us so it is clear to all who witness our lives that God takes care of His people.
Verse 4 - 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.
Dan’s Analysis. It is not death…it is a shadow. Shadows scare us…unless someone taps us on the shoulder or grabs our hand…we are afraid.
Verse 5-6 - You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Dan’s Analysis. a. Table in the presence of my enemies? After a battle was won…the victor would be served a banquet by the losing army. God does that to all of the enemies in your life when He blesses you and leads you through those scary valleys. Especially to the arch enemy…Satan.
b. Annoint my head with oil? That is a sign of royalty my friend. God is showing every one that He has picked you!
c. My cup overflows? God never stops giving….He continually blesses His children…and He wants to do that for you!
d. The last part is His promise that He will be with you every day…for the rest of this life, and then He will welcome you in to heaven…where He will REALLY bless you.
So when I hear that psalm at a funeral….I cringe! We should be shouting and praising when we hear that. Especially when your life just got hit by a wave.
One caveat though…these promises are only for God’s people.
But be encouraged …you can be one of God’s people…one of His children…simply by accepting Jesus Christ, and accept His atoning work on the Cross! If you have any questions about that…please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org…I would be honored to tell you more about those promises…or answer any questions that you may have. Or you can just comment to this post. I will answer you….I promise.
If you think that it is “too good to be true”….IT IS!!! That is what makes God so amazing!
Grace and Peace, Dan