Getting our ‘but’ in the right place

“The Lord is my Shepherd…(Psalm 23)

These are some of the most familiar words in the Bible loved by devout people everywhere.  According to this Shepherd Psalm of David, the key to the real blessings of this life and the next is a relationship with God.  The green pastures, the still waters, the table of provision, the blessing of God described as anointing oil and the cup that runs over all the time are all conditioned on that relationship.  David tells us how that relationship is established in the second verse when he writes, “He makes me to lie down”.

However, the spirit in which these words are often recalled can be something like this: “The Lord is my Shepherd —but, I have a health problem.” Or, the Lord is my Shepherd — but, I have marriage problems!”  Or, “The Lord is my Shepherd — but, I cannot control my children.”

When we say “The Lord is my Shepherd — but” we are putting our “but” in the wrong place. We need to get our “but” in the right place and recall the precious promise of these words this way: “I have a health problem, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd! I have marriage problems, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd! I cannot control my children, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd!”

The Lord often makes us lie down by using problems with our health, marriage, children, finances, careers and all sorts of other challenges to teach us about the relationship which is the key to the blessings profiled in this beautiful Psalm.

Will you let the Great Shepherd use the problems and challenges you are currently facing to strengthen the relationship David described so beautifully three thousand years ago? Can you put your ‘but’ in the right place?

Dick Woodward,  14 August 2008

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