by Neil Bergmann
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I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6).
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Actually, we always seem to want more. Even in our prayers, we are quick to say what we want God to do – stop wars, bring rains in drought, stop rains in floods, heal the sick, basically just fix everything we think is wrong with the world. Even Jesus in Gethsemane struggled with the simple prayer – not my will, but your will be done.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. We really don’t like to be led. We don’t like to be led to times of rest in green pastures and beside still waters because we are in a hurry to get things done. We don’t like to be led to be part of God’s active mission to bring the gospel of salvation, justice, mercy and love to the world. We like to do the leading.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. We like to avoid risks. It is much safer to avoid those dark valleys altogether. The easiest way to fear no evil is to stick to the places, people and situations we can control.
My cup overflows. God fills us to overflow with his love and grace, but where does it go? So many in this world need that love and grace (often in those dark valleys), but we think we don’t have enough to share.
I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. We know that Jesus’s life, death and resurrection promise us eternal life in God’s heavenly home, but what does it mean to dwell in the house of the Lord here on earth? I don’t think God’s house is a fine mansion, with individual ensuite bathrooms and large screen TVs. I think it is more like a field hospital where the sick, injured, unwanted and unloved are welcomed in for care and healing. We are also invited to come, not as honoured guests but as humble helpers, ready to serve.
God of overflowing love and grace, please guide us in your ways and paths, even when you lead us where we do not want to go. For we know that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives. Amen.