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Psalm 23 for Today

By Dena Dyer
Guest Columnist --

God's guidance is even more important than common sense . . . I can declare that the deepest darkness is outshone by the light of Jesus. —Corrie Ten Boom

As I sat on the couch, I opened the USA Today. Inside the front section was an article detailing the ways to prepare for all sorts of terrorist attacks. As I read, visions of duct tape and plastic sheeting danced in my head, and the fact that I live a mere twenty miles from a nuclear power plant crossed my mind more than once.

Then I tried to go to bed. Right. (What was I thinking?!)

But after I crawled in the covers, with my mind swirling and my heart racing, I looked up my daily reading in a Devotion book. As God's providence would have it, the selection was Psalm 23. And as I read, I realized the words were timeless. They comforted me, and I began to think of ways that they might apply to our current situation in America.

Here's what I recorded that night in my journal:

The Lord is my shepherd—
In the midst of the war on drugs,
the war on terrorism,
and the spiritual warfare in my soul.
I shall not want—
with him as my Savior and provider,
I'm perfectly content.
While others strive for and worry about
a bigger house, a newer car, designer clothes and jewels,
I will rest in my calling and purpose—
knowing God and making him known
in this hurting, harried world.

He leads me beside still waters—
Cool, clear streams of peace
in the midst of orange alerts,
space shuttle disasters, stock market fluctuations,
and baggage inspections.
When emotional baggage threatens my sanity,
he renews my mind.
When grief and despair descend,
he heals my heart.
When doubts and fears assail my tranquility,
he restores my soul.

Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death—
filled with threats of biological and chemical warfare,
nuclear bombs and ghosts of past regrets—
I will fear no evil.
Not AIDS, or smallpox,
not child abductors or doomsayers.
Thou art with me—
even when I feel alone in a crowd.

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me—
especially when I read the paper or watch the news.
(Why do I read or watch? I know the ending!)
Thou anointest my head with oil—
the oil of gladness and peace,
with a calling to be
light and joy in a dark, fear-filled world.

Help me to be a peace-full, grace-full person, Lord,
in the midst of a chaotic world.
Truly, my cup runneth over.
You have blessed me so much!
I have friends and family who love me,
a warm bed, freedom, grace, (more than) enough food,
and a fulfilling purpose.

Surely goodness and mercy—
your grace, love, forgiveness and compassion—
shall follow me all the days of my life.
Every second, every minute, you are before and
behind me, with your arms of love outstretched.

And one day—when all wars and pain,
terror and shame
will come to an end . . . (Come quickly, Lord Jesus!)
I will dwell in the house of the Lord,
your glorious kingdom,
where you've prepared an eternal home for me.

As I finished the Psalm, I turned out the light and went to sleep. Peacefully.

Notes from the Coach:

A psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Psalm 23:1-6, NIV

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Excerpted from Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms, Copyright © 2004, by Dena J. Dyer. Used by permission.

Dena Dyer is wife to Carey and mother to their two boys, Jordan and Jackson. Her other roles include professional actress and singer, women's speaker, and author. Dena has written for Woman's World, Today's Christian Woman, Writer's Digest, Christian Reader, and Discipleship Journal.

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