Paul Witkop is pastor of Light of the Desert Lutheran Church in Cave Creek.

worms eyeview of green trees

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on

The 23rd Psalm is, perhaps, the most well-known scripture passage. My second-grade teacher, in a public school, even had us memorize it as classical poetry. I have been with people who suffer from advanced dementia, who 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 and comforting about the shepherd psalm. It is calming promise when our soul is troubled. It is a reminder of God’s goodness even in the midst of this time of a pandemic. The psalm reminds us we can trust God, no matter what.

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 when he wrote it. Shepherds live to protect the sheep. The sheep do not have to fear because they trust the shepherd.

Where is your soul today? Does it need restoring? We are living in crazy and fearful times. The fear of catching the virus, the loss of a job, the loneliness caused by social distancing can all drain us. We worry. Sometimes, just the chaos of a busy schedule drains our soul. So, we ask, “Is the Lord really our shepherd or it is just a cute idea for a painting or a poem?”

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.” Jesus wants to restore your soul…to give you hope, to rejuvenate your spirit and to revive your God given potential. You are his unique creation and he has a plan for you that fits you perfectly. He wants you to know the security of unfailing and unconditional love. “For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation” (Psalm 100:5).

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 shepherd you toward real solutions and real peace. More than anything, Jesus wants to restore your soul.

Teaser: Photo by Felix Mittermeier

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