Often, I don't sleep very well. I have a hard time getting to sleep, and I regularly wake up in the middle of the night and then have a hard time getting back to sleep. One of the things I've found recently that helps me get back to sleep is to meditate on different excerpts from the Bible. I've been rather fixated on the 23rd Psalm for a while (and my success rate of falling asleep after thinking about it has been pretty good), so I thought I'd do a series of posts on my thoughts on it. This is part 7 of my 'meditations' on Psalm 23.
Goodness and Mercy Follow MeOne of the 'Dad jokes' in our house goes "God has three sheepdogs. He's named them: Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy." I honestly don't remember where I first heard the analogy that Goodness and Mercy are like God's sheepdogs, but it definitely stuck with me. I love that mental image.
Even trying to sleep last night, though, I found I had 'traded' God's sheepdogs for other hounds called Stress, Worry, and Concern. They were nipping at my heals for some time before I realized what had happened. Being self employed and a single income family doesn't make this much easier.
Jesus says we shouldn't worry. Something I'm finding lately is one of the best ways to combat worry is to be thankful. More details about my original AHA moment around that on this post. Its seems its far to easy to end up like the seeds in Jesus' Parable of the Sower which landed on the good ground but were choked by the thorns of 'worries, cares, and concerns of this world.'
As an adult, I get glimpses every once in a while of what its be like to live without worries, cares, and concern. Makes me want to be a kid again. Carefree.
Goodness and Mercy follow me. That sounds like it should be a rather passive experience. Given the context in this Psalm, if I follow the Good Shepherd's path of righteousness I shouldn't have to try and conjure up goodness or mercy in my life - they should just happen. I'm curious though... does that mean I experience God's goodness and mercy in my life, or God's goodness and mercy overflow out of my life to others? While its not clear, I'd like to think both. As I experience God's goodness and mercy for myself, I can't help but share with others.
Other posts in this series:
- Psalm 23 - Part 1 - The Lord is My Shepherd
- Psalm 23 - Part 2 - Green Pastures and Still Waters
- Psalm 23 - Part 3 - Restoration and Righteousness
- Psalm 23 - Part 4 - The Valley of the Shadow of Death
- Psalm 23 - Part 5 - A Table in the Presence of My Enemies
- Psalm 23 - Part 6 - Anointed Head, Overflowing Cup
- Psalm 23 - Part 8 - Dwell in the House of the Lord