The Lord is my Shepard, I have all that I need. - Psalm 23:1
I believe these words. I would have said I've been believing them for a long time. But only recently, since moving to York, have I come to understand how much He is willing to prove it and to live up to this claim.
But in order to do that, He calls us to trust him.
Sometimes it feels like belief can be a bit of an airy-fairy thing - loads of kids believe in tooth fairies and Father Christmas. But they cannot trust in the existence of such figures, they cannot safely handover their hearts and happiness in the same way they hand over their old teeth and wish lists. Their belief relies on imagination, rather than the other way around.
Belief in Jesus however works the other way around. Our imagination, of all the good and great things He can do for us and through us relies on a belief that is greater and stronger than that which is called upon by... er, elves.... This kind of belief feels more like trust.
Many of us were subjected to trust exercises in drama classes at school. That feeling of your belly lurching up inside of you as you let yourself fall into the hands of your classmates.... Anyone remember that, or is it just me? Anyway, this is what comes to mind when I think about trust. The steaks are great. (Does the Tooth Fairy collect teeth that get knocked out a second time around? I'm feeling, no.)
I came to York without a job. I wasn't sure what to expect when I got here, but the independent woman inside of me hates to not be able to provide for myself and so getting some kind of job, any kind of job was my priority. I've done my fair share of.... graft over the years to keep me in rent and tea bags. As all things are given to us by God's grace, It's still true that He has been the one to provide me with all such jobs, but I've never really considered them to have much of a divine purpose outside of keeping a roof over my head. I could have got myself several jobs, of sorts, with relative ease and I intended to stick with what I knew would be quick, even if I didn't really like it all that much.
But then, God called me stop and to trust Him instead. To believe that He is my Shepard - in a new way. To trust that He would give me all that I need, even when it went against all my human instincts of what I wanted. In fact, I was offered the first job I applied for and God told me not to take it.
'Trust me,' He said, 'this is not what I want for you, I will give you all that you need.'
And He did.
But not without making me wait for it. There after all the other jobs I applied for, all of a similar style and level of [no] skill, took no notice. They didn't want to know and I received silence after silence for weeks. And still he told me to wait and to trust Him, even as I sat and watched my bank balance break into a nervous sweat as it shrivelled up day by day.
I had to develop a belief in his promises that was more than pie in the sky, more than a nice fuzzy feeling and clapping my hands in church. In this time of waiting and wanting, he took my belief and starved it, so to speak, in that he stripped it of all the cushy, fatty, useless bits and replaced it with hard muscle. He made me work at my belief, make me flex it and strain it to make it robust and tough and strong.
He wasn't giving me what I wanted, He was giving me what I needed.
And then finally, he gave me two jobs on the same day.
After a period of famine, (well, not quite as dramatic as that, but point made, right?) He presented me with a feast and the luxury of choice.
Was I ever going to really believe that He would always provide for me and give me the things that I need if I never let him close enough to show me?
Looking back, how could I ever have been satisfied with my own provision for myself, knowing how much more powerful He is than I? I feel like a bit of a fool now - like telling a physics professor that he's drawn an atom wrong. Seriously, what do I know?!
So if you've read this far, firstly well done and thank you. Secondly, I hope that this will bring some comfort and encouragement. The Lord IS our Shepard and He WILL give us all that we need. In His own good time, which is not always the same as ours. (Note: He looks at the hour hand where as we are usually fixated with the second hand.)
If the Lord is not giving you what you want, maybe He is asking you to trust him, to trust that He knows what you need. He is, after all, your Shepard too.
Blog post by Emily Merrett.