Tuesday, May 13, 2014
The first Psalm I memorized was the 23rd Psalm. I did so out of that black Bible with the zipper running around it. Inside were pictures of significant Biblical moments and red print on all the words which Jesus spoke. It is the first Bible I remember and, somehow, it has managed to travel safely with me over this sixty years. Every time I moved, it made the journey. The Pierce Chapel Methodist Church out in the woods near Waycross, Ga. encouraged its children to memorize scripture by giving us a moment at the Sunday evening worship service to recite memorized verses and a gold star on the wall chart when we did.
So, I have not only carried that black Bible from my childhood with me through the years, but I have also carried the 23rd Psalm along as well. Long ago it ceased being necessary to read it from the page since it was planted in my heart. Most likely it has been the most read and most used chapter of scripture in my life and ministry. With such a long history with these Words, the question which came out of a recent reading was a bit surprising. Surprising because I cannot remember ever asking it. Perhaps, I am asking it now because there is a thick green pasture growing just across the road from the front door. Most every day I walk in it tending not sheep, but a few cows. What is the question? It comes from verse 2 as it says, "He makes me lie down in green pastures." The question is: "Why should I have to be made to lie down in green pastures?"
Through the 23rd Psalm the Word of God is telling me that God can be trusted to provide what I need for my life in a lush and abundant way. Any, why should I be made to rest and live and be nurtured on ground made fertile for the sustenance of my soul? Around these parts someone would say that anyone with one eye and half sense would know better. I have two eyes and good sense. But, still, there is me. As hungry as I know my heart to sometimes be for God, I also know how stubbornly it can seek its own way. Thankful am I for the pressure of God's love that holds me where my needy soul can be fed.