Psalm 23. So familiar. But when new meaning comes my way, I get excited!
Verse 6– where goodness and mercy follow us. Sounds like a tired old dog. Or a child, unable to keep up the pace. ‘…goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…’ (Psalm 23: 6).
I begin searching the meaning of the Hebrew ‘to follow’, which seeks out… in hot pursuit. God’s love searches high-and-low, in every nook-and-cranny, behind locked doors, and doesn’t stop until it finds. As the Apostle John says: ‘this is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us (1 John 4: 10).
He takes the first step. In the dance of life, He takes the lead. When I was a student at Princeton Seminary, I was accepted into a chaplaincy program called Clinical Pastoral Education at the Medical Center at Princeton. Only eight of us involved. We’re learning to listen to others. In class, we do a number of exercises. One involves two of us going into each corner of the conference room. Then we’re told to greet the others. What would you do? Sounds rather simple.
I saunter over to the other corners, shaking hands with everyone, as instructed. What amazes me is that I’m the only one who does. The others wait for us to come to them. Our supervisor then informs us that he’s never told us to go across the room, but simply to greet each other. What I discovered is that my personality takes the first step. Others will be different.
Know that God goes with us on the rough-and-tumble roads of life. He doesn’t lag behind. He’s not lackadaisical. Such love will come right to us in whatever corner we find ourselves in.
Thank you, Jesus, for taking the first step. Amen.