Note: this is an encore of a post from 2012. Based on Psalm 23, the main idea of the post is to explain why faith often waits, listens, and is demonstrated by patience and by asking "what's next?" or "where do I go from here?" It is often arrogance or presumption that leads us to believe faith means we say what we want and then we get what we said. Remember: Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd of the Sheep. Sheep don't declare or decree. Sheep are not self-directed and are lost without a shepherd. Sheep follow because they are happy to have a shepherd who knows more than they know and who is also good to them and always leading them to what is best. The sheep of the Great Shepherd are protected, fed, loved, and treasured. Not a bad way to live, is it?
Psalm 23 (King James Version*)
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Am I doubting how, where, and why God leads me?
It's tempting to do this, because I have been trained to believe I must plan my own life, plan my course of action, and determine to accept only certain outcomes that meet my standards and my preferences.
When the Psalmist David writes "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want", this statement re-sets my standards for what is acceptable. I do not want anything apart from how and where God leads me. If I want something else, it's time to re-train my thinking. God wants what is good for me, beyond what I can currently imagine or believe in.
"Beside the still waters." Sheep cannot drink from strong, running waters. They will only drink from still waters, where they feel safe. You won't see sheep stomping off into waters with high currents. They will wait to be led to where they can handle what is before them. They may grow thirsty, but they will wait to be led. They will wait to be led to where they can safely receive the refreshment and strengthening they need from still waters. Am I patient enough to wait, to be led?
He leads me beside the still waters. Do I really want this? Am I "the master of my fate, the captain of my soul?" I am not the product of my decisions. I am the product of His decisions. I allow the Good Shepherd to lead me beside still waters.
*The reference to "King James Version" doesn't mean King James of England personally wrote or personally translated the Bible. The term refers to the fact that a committee of translators developed this translation during the time King James was in power.