Faith Is Not always Easy!
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NLT)
The Lord is my Shepherd
Psalm 23 is probably the most familiar passage from the Old Testament. I memorized that Psalm when I was in the first grade at South Side Elementary School in Meridian, MS, thanks to Miss Virgie Upton, a Christian school teacher.
During my days in MD Anderson Cancer Center I learned the real meaning of Psalm 23. There were many times in the darkness of night and pain that I quoted this chapter in my mind, along with many other verses. Even today, if I wake in the night, I still quote this passage as a reminder that the Great Shepherd cares for His sheep “all the days of our life.” I also learned that Psalm 23 has a message for us when fighting battles and carrying burdens. I’m glad the Lord is “my shepherd” and know He tenderly cares for me.
Over the years as a pastor, I used that passage in many funerals. When King David says, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, he’s not saying, “Surely only good things are going to happen to me!” He knew as well as anyone that bad things can happen to good people. (Psalm 23:6)
David’s point is that God’s goodness will follow after, or pursue, him. No matter how bad or evil or difficult something seems, God will work it out for good.
It’s one of God’s great promises that he’s given to believers: We know that in everything that happens to us, God is working for our good — if we love God and are fitting into his plans (Romans 8:28). If you’re a believer, the Bible says all things are working together for good — not that all things are good — but working together for good.
There is no problem. pain, difficulty, or disaster in the life of a believer that God can’t ultimately turn into His purpose and plan for our lives. Linda and I both have experienced God’s goodness and we are grateful.