Meditations on the 23rd Psalm

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Our Sunday School lesson this morning was on the 23rd psalm–same old, same old, right? Well, I was actually quite struck as I sat there listening to Howard’s “sermon.”

“He leads me beside quiet waters/ he renews my life.” Psalm 23:2-3, HCSB

In the past two years, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to some awesome waters. In March 2006, I sat by the Andaman Sea in Thailand. It was so calm, despite having produced such massive destruction through the 2004 tsunami. I felt so peaceful and yet so filled with pain for the people of Khao Lak. I vividly remember walking along a beach filled with giant rocks, the kind you couldn’t possibly move, that had been washed ashore by that huge wave. All of the tree were leafless and cut off at the same height. It was haunting.

This past August, I went to Foz de Iguacu, Brazil, which is home to one of the world’s largest waterfalls. The cataratas are amazing, just breathtaking and immense in a way completely indescribable. I was filled with such reverence on this day that I have a picture of, trekking around the Argentina side of the falls (in that sweater that I miss so dearly. I was wearing it when I was in my car accident and I bled all over it. Man, I liked that sweater! Ooops, sorry!). I actually cried a little, and sang “How Great Thou Art” while walking around.

In my spiritual life, there are still waters and rushing waters. There have to be both to mature me. If we only had to walk beside the still waters, we might be bored, even a little melancholy. The rushing waters may be the valley of the shadow of death, but they are the times that cause us to rely on God, to know Him better, to cry at His greatness.

Even when I feel like I’m going through a valley kind of time…I know that if I keep my sight straight ahead on my Shepherd, I will learn, I will grow, and I will be better for it.

So there’s my Sunday sermon for you.

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