“He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3, NIV
4th Sunday- Bringing Us Back Again!
On January 20th of recent days, I believe God spoke through a gifted young woman whose ancestors shouldered the blistering burden of slavery. Because I too share that heritage and her rich hue, I was drawn to the words of this young sage. The youngest of all inaugural poet laureates, Amanda Gorman, said this: “When day comes we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it, For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it…” Sister Amanda went on to say that when we experience something other, “we can never be defeated.” This is a call to be restored from the weariness of our journey. Psalm 23 and verse 3, also is such a call. It is the realization that behind every cloud and shadow, there is daybreak. This psalm is in contrast to the one that precedes it. Psalm 22 is a litany of pain and misery that has affected the psalmist in an unfriendly and hostile world. The psalmist pleads with God: “Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help (Psalm 22:11, NIV).” We understand the pain and passion of the psalmist, and we indulge his raw, yet truthful, feelings. But there is a break in Psalm 23. In this psalm we celebrate the Shepherd who leads and companions us on our journey. The “help” the psalmist pleads for in Psalm 22, is assured in Psalm 23. Because the Lord is our Shepherd, we will have the things we need. The very appearance of the Shepherd is the dawn of a new day. Although we become famished and exhausted along life’s paths, He restores our souls. Over and again, when we’ve felt like giving up, strength has come to replace our weakness. He’s never left us, nor will He ever leave us, alone to bear life’s troubles!