By Yulius Darmawan, Indonesia
At every phase of our lives, we are bound to face challenges. God uses these experiences to shape our character and the process could be quite painful and unpleasant. Quite often, it is discouraging. Sometimes, it may even seem like God has abandoned us.
King David is a man like us. He too went through various experiences in his life. Many of these difficulties made him weak and desperate, but he did not give in to despair. Psalm 23 is David’s testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness through the crest and trough of life.
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to His name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for You are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
David praised God for being the Great Shepherd—his constant Guide, Provider, and Protector.
On Christmas day, this Great Shepherd took on human form and came to dwell among us. We see this in Isaiah 7:14 where the prophet Isaiah foretold the birth of Jesus. He said that a child would be born and shall be called Emmanuel, which means God with us. The invisible transcendent God is now our immanent God.
Hence, when there are challenges and obstacles in our lives which make us feel distraught, we could look to Jesus and the manner in which He lived His life on earth—how He guided, provided and protected His own.
Jesus said, “ I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. . . I am the good Shepherd; I know My own sheep, and they know Me” (John 10:11,14).
Do you know the good Shepherd? Have you invited Him to be the Shepherd of your life? You can do so by praying something similar to the following:
“Lord Jesus, I believe You were born on earth for me and You died on the cross to atone for my sins, so I invite You to be my personal Lord and Savior. Take control of my life and walk with me in every step of the way. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen. “