The words of Psalm 23 are well known, even by unbelievers. It is a beautiful passage that stirs comfort and hope in us. I have often needed to recite this passage to myself in times that I needed courage or when I was afraid.
The Lord as our shepherd has deeper implications than we may realize. For example, sometimes a shepherd would have to literally break the legs of a sheep that was constantly wandering off. But in return, the shepherd would carry the sheep on his shoulders until it was healed again. The parallel of this truth in terms of our relationship with Christ is exquisite and profoundly breathtaking. He knows far better than us. Sometimes, He will break us, knowing that it is for our own good; But He also carries us until we are able to stand again.
This is not a picture of a cruel and uncaring God. On the contrary, it’s actually proof of the unconditional love that comes only from God. A shepherd that doesn’t care would let the sheep wander off a cliff or into the mouths of wolves. But a shepherd that truly loves his flock will go to extreme lengths to keep them safe and teach them that they can trust him.
A God who is willing to break me for my own betterment, yet promises to carry me through even the darkest valleys, is one that I am willing to give my life to. Learning this about my God makes me able to more boldly believe the words, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” (v.4).