Operation Soul Restoration

Pastor Paul Witkop

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By Pastor Paul Witkop –

The 23rd Psalm is, perhaps, the most well-known scripture passage. My second-grade teacher in a public school had us memorize it as classical poetry. I have been with people who have dementia. Their condition is so advanced that they do not know even their own adult kids — and yet, when I begin reading Psalm 23, they join with me. There is something very personal about the shepherd psalm. It really is a picture of God: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul. —Psalm 23:1–3a

Shepherds were everywhere in King David’s day and Jesus’ day. Herding sheep was very common. The sheep do not have to fear when they put their trust in the shepherd.

I dare say that many of us would answer with our lips that we believe that the Lord is our shepherd.   But when tough times hit us hard — we are filled with worry.   When the bills pile up, the 401k becomes a 201k, health issues invade us, when we have problems finding work — or challenges at work, when our closest relationships are full of trouble…we worry.  So, we ask, “Is the Lord really our shepherd or it is just a cute idea for a painting or a poem?”

A few years ago, I went with a group down to Havasupai Canyon, a beautiful tributary of the Grand Canyon. The highlight of the trip was the incredible 200-foot waterfalls at the bottom. We camped, so we had to carry our food, our tents, sleeping bags and our other personal gear down to the canyon.  As we approached the day of departure, the greatest news was that our leader had contacted a mule skinner he knew, and we were able to employ several of the canyon’s finest mules to carry our gear down and most importantly, back out.   The trip was amazing…but what a different trip it would have been if we had to carry the considerable pile of gear…all by ourselves.

Maybe that’s how God sees us…all these people, carrying around burdens that are much too big for them and God is saying, “Why don’t you take it off, set it down?  Don’t you know that it will only crush you?”

Jesus, who called himself the good shepherd, said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  He calls us to give him our burdens.  Jesus wants to restore your soul…to give you hope, to rejuvenate your spirit; to revive your God given potential.

For the stresses of each day, take some time to read Psalm 23 — one verse a day.  As you do, you will be drawn closer to the Lord who wants to be your shepherd and restore your soul.

Photo by glendon27 on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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