Much of our world lives in want – real or imagined. The dictionary definition of want is – “A lack or deficiency of something.” In the West we want mostly for “things” – a better house, the latest iPhone, it a better job, more satisfying pastimes or relationships to name but a few.
The funny thing is that even when we get the things we want – they fail to satisfy our want. A couple of days perhaps and then the urge returns for something else. Of course the truth is “things” will never satisfy.
The same principle is very ofter at work in the spiritual life – which is why so many conferences and events draw such large audiences. The promise of a better – more victorious, fulfilling life is, sadly, based very often on the human tendency to think that such thing can be obtained the easy way. And, when it comes to church life, the desire for influence, power and recognition very often flow from the self same desire for the satisfaction of a deep want in our lives.
But in the end all these “things” are illusions. None of them and I can guarantee this 100% – none of them will bring us to a place where we can say – as a result of gaining them – “I shall not want any more”.
And yet, the shepherd David, as a relatively young man could write – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” In truth David had discovered the great secret, and although like all of us he was sidetracked and failed spectacularly, he always returned to The Shepherd – his source of all comfort, satisfaction, peace and joy.
More than once on my spiritual journey I have been stripped of the things I had though were essential to being a “successful Christian”. And it was on these occasions that I heard the still small voice of The Shepherd asking simply – “Am I enough?”.
I think the The Shepherd sometimes allows us to face such perceived “want” to bring us to the place where we can say again with confidence and assurance and apart from anything else – “Because The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
The truth is, in any life situation, we can only say “I shall not want” – when we can also say – ‘The Lord is my Shepherd!”
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough.
He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honour to his name.
Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit; you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.
So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life. Then afterward, when my life is through, I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!
Psalm 23 [The Passion Translation]