I took a picture of our lab and two dwarf bunnies sharing some kibble, and was touched at how trusting those little bunnies were enjoying the table set before them even in the presence of a natural enemy. In Psalm 23, we see the great care and compassion our Shepherd has for us. Have we doubted God’s care for us? Has a situation that drains on our hearts and tests our patience gone on longer than we would have liked? Have we stood in faith and the circumstance didn’t change or grew worse? We hear not to let circumstances shape our perspective of God’s heart toward us. What does this mean?
To dare to walk higher with God, here in the land of the living, our perspective on life must be elevated and above the common thinking of unredeemed man. It takes courage to believe God even when our surroundings show opposite of what we know God has promised or whispered into our hearts. Even believing He loves us can be a challenge for some. Two important factors in walking on the heights with God is to understand His way and timing. These two elements can be quite different from our own preferences for how we would like him to handle and refine us.
He knows how to accomplish His purposes and when to bring them forth to bring the most good out of a situation. Perhaps He is teaching us patience and long suffering and how to find His joy and peace in the midst of tribulation. Once we learn this priceless lesson, the heat no longer affects us for we have learned to find contentment in every circumstance and honor Him with all of our reactions/responses to our surroundings. Remember, He does not desire that any perish but that all may come to know Him. Do we find ourselves in a cave of solitude or on a pedestal before the masses – in both we must have the same response – trust in His way and timing. In either position the pain of refinement can seem acute, but ours is to trust Him and let flow from our spirits praise and thankfulness demonstrating our faith that all is well. Even the quietest whisper of worship can be heard by our Beloved and in these utterances made with a heart fully committed to Him, we must know He hears us. We are in God’s hands and He leads us as a Shepherd.
We may have been led by our Beloved to stand in faith, profess God’s will over a situation, and believe for His intervention, only to see our hopes for transformation of a situation die right before us. What if the healing did not come in a loved one, what if the position God promised was filled by another, what if you stood for the right but got fired or pushed out of an organization only to see evil prevail and suffering continue? Again, we must elevate our perspectives to see as God does.
In healing, this much loved one may have caught a glimpse of God’s glory and chosen to go on ahead. Our dearest loved one finished their race on earth and is basking in God’s unveiled presence. That’s the whole point of existence – knowing and being known by God. What if the hope of filling a purposeful role we believed God to position us in was dashed against a stone. It is here the tender soul is tempted to believe they missed God’s voice. We must remember our responsibility is to believe and proclaim the truth, and God will take care of the results. If man rejects His plan, He may make another way or continue to work on hearts and open the same door at a later time. Again, two factors come into play – God way and timing.
Let us mediate on Psalm 23, so that our viewpoints can be rightly focused on God’s heart toward us. Jesus is our great Shepherd and in this passage we see how He leads and tenderly cares for us. When we are tempted to think God does not care we must wait as a trusting sheep dependent upon the Shepard for care, safety, and guidance to work things out in His way and timing. He is faithful, He is good, He loves us.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”