By Roger Campbell
A minister called the advertising editor of his local paper to announce the title of his upcoming sermon.
“My sermon this week will be titled “The Lord Is My Shepherd,” he said.
“Is that all?” asked the editor.
“That’s enough,” the minister replied.
When the newspaper arrived that week the pastor opened it and was surprised to read that the title of his sermon would be “The Lord is my shepherd; THAT’S ENOUGH!”
Two women were standing and conversing in a convenience store and gas station where I went to buy gas for my generator during a recent electric power outage. Wanting to leave them with some kind of faith builder before departing, I said “Have a good day and remember God loves you!”
“Sometimes I wonder,” replied one, revealing how she really felt in spite of her former but now fading smile.“Try reading the twenty-third Psalm,” I advised; adding that I do so every morning.
Why would I give this kind of advice to a troubled woman upon learning I had encountered her on one of her down days?
Because so many in her frame of mind have rediscovered the love of God and the power of faith through this moving text on God’s care for us in tough times.
One widely known writer said when David, who had been a shepherd, wrote the twenty-third Psalm, he placed the key to its understanding on the front door. He saw the word “my,” in the first line as the requirement for receiving the peace, power and protection promised here. His point was that it is one thing to know the twenty-third Psalm and another to know the Shepherd.
We live in a troubled world and trouble comes to all. If our concept of God’s care is dependent on the circumstances at hand we may find ourselves doubting His love.
Few people find it difficult to believe God loves and cares for them when things are going well, but things do not always go well.
How do you react when trouble comes?
Do you become pessimistic? Depressed? Angry at God?
In his article “Pulling Through Depression,” Craig Massey says sometimes we deepen our depression by isolating ourselves from the Lord, saying, in essence, “I don’t believe You are with me. I don’t believe You care. I don’t believe You hear me.”
These human responses to trouble are not just products of these tense times.
They are characteristics of lapses in faith that have surfaced in times of trouble through the centuries. But they crumble in the face of the positive faith demonstrated in the twenty-third Psalm.
This Psalm of peace reveals one who expects God to lead him to green pastures and still waters; who expects a feast when surrounded by foes; who sees goodness and mercy following him all through life and when facing death anticipates heaven. The editor’s sermon title was no mistake: When the Lord is our Shepherd: THAT’S ENOUGH!
Roger Campbell is an author, broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org