Can you make peace with having what you have, and not having what you don’t? Are you content with life as is, or is there something more you cannot bare to live without? What is it that you want, and what are you going to do about it?
David wrote in Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
Cool … but what if you still do want? What if you’ve taken an inventory of your life, and there are still things you really want that are missing? Does that mean the Lord is not your Shepherd? Does that mean you haven’t learned to follow him the right way yet? Does that mean you’re being stubborn, or punished, or misled?
I wrestled with this scripture yesterday. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. I shall not want. But if I’m still wanting, I must not be following the Shepherd well. What am I missing here … because maybe you feel like you’re missing it too.
Jesus declared himself as the good Shepherd. A shepherd gives up his life for his sheep. Every moment of his life is invested in guiding, protecting and caring for his sheep. If a sheep wanders off, the Shepherd sets out to find it. If a sheep is in trapped, the Shepherd frees it. If a sheep is hurt, the Shepherd cares for it’s needs. He continually guides them past dangers into safety. He leads the sheep into what is best for them, where they will get everything they need.
This is exactly what Jesus does for us. His entire life is given to guide us, protect us, save us.
If Jesus identifies himself as the GOOD Shepherd, could that mean there is a BAD Shepherd? Is there one trying to harm us? One trying to lead us astray and get us lost? Absolutely. My sister, be careful who you follow! Jesus said in Matthew 7: 15 “Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” If their fruit is chaos, if their fruit is division, if their fruit is hungry applause, that’s a Shepherd that will lead you astray. Not all who say good things are up to good things. Examine the fruits. Don’t be fooled.
Jesus can always be trusted. Always. If you are seeking his guidance, he will never fail you. He will always rescue you. Yes, even if you’re that one that continually wanders off and gets herself into trouble, he will come and get you. He will leave the 99 and come searching for you, just you! Why? Because you’re that valuable to him. You’re that precious. You’re that loved.
Sis, when you get that truth down deep in your soul, all the guilt and shame you’ve been carrying around with you finally gets dropped. And without that extra weight, you likely get lost a little less. Oh that good Shepherd, how he cares for you!
David also writes in Psalm 77: 19-20 “Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
He is remembering how God led his people. How he took them through impossible territory to delivery them. So when David says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”, he is declaring what God did for them, he will do for me. What he was trusted with then, is what he can be trusted with now.
He is MY Shepherd. This is personal. He is here with me. He is personally guiding me. I am not alone. Although I may not know the way, I am not lost because MY Shepherd is with me and he knows exactly how to get me from where I’ve been stuck, to where is best for me now.
So, when David says “I shall not want”, he is saying, “I will not flip out here!”
I will not act in desperation. I will not allow my mind to wander off into dark gutters and get stuck there. I will not allow my spirit to become weary and my heart to become burdened. Because God is guiding me, I know he will make a path straight through the sea if that is what is needed. Because God is guiding me, he will make a way through the mighty waters and I will walk through on dry ground. He will not leave me here. This isn’t over.
Is Jesus your Shepherd? Are you trusting him to personally guide you? Do you believe he knows exactly where you are, and is fully capable of guiding you to the path leading to ridiculously good plans for you? Okay then, you don’t have to flip out!
Can you believe that everything you truly need, you already have. And everything you will need for every moment of your future is already in alignment for you, delivered by the hands of the Almighty when you are ready for it.
Sheep have no need for green pastures they cannot eat today. They have no need for miles of streams, when they can only drink from the spot they’re at right now. The Shepherd’s job is not to show them everything he is leading them to, but instead to show them where they are right now.
Yes, where they are right now!
My Sister, the Good Shepherd is trying to show you where you are right now. Yes, he has good plans for your future and he’s going to help you get there, but that’s not of concern today. Right now, you have what you need, you’re here in this place where you’re secure in the care of the one who guides you.
This is what it means to not want.
To be here, and be content with here. To know when the time for next comes, next will be covered, but I don’t have to flip out about it.
When you are led by Jesus, you are filled with something that indescribably fills all the still empty spaces in your life.
You can desire children, yet not flip out as you wait for children, because as Jesus guides you, he shows you that where you are right now is good.
You can desire a strong marriage, but not be consumed by a want that is yet to be realized yet. The Good Shepherd shows you that where he has led you today is exactly what you need, and the journey will continue beyond this, if you trust him.
You can desire a fulfilling career, and not be miserable as you continue to show up at an unfulfilling job that pays the bills right now. How? You look around and see that where Jesus has brought you is a place of provision for today, but this isn’t where you will be forever.
This field is for right now, but there are green pastures he will lead you to that you cannot see yet. But for right now, you don’t have to stress over how you’re going to get there. You can find contentment in being where you are, trusting Jesus to lead you to where you’re going next. Just stay close to him.
Every morning, when I’m praying on my knees, I excitedly ask my Good Shepherd, “what awesome things can we do together today?” Where have you brought me, and what do you have for me to do here? What do you want me to see? Who do you want me to meet? How do you want to use me? What do you want to teach me? This prayer has changed my days. It has me living in contentment instead of want. It has me enjoying the fields of today instead of stressing about the pastures of tomorrow.
When the Shepherd guides you, you will not want. You will not be taunted by desperation. You won’t be filled with worry over what is next. You will be fully engulfed by his provisions of today, seeing this is everything you truly need. And tomorrow will always be taken care of by the one who can get you there. There’s absolutely no need to flip out about what you think you want.
What do you do when you still don’t have what you want? You trust the Good Shepherd with exactly where he has brought you today, and know he will faithfully guide you into the good plans you don’t even know about yet!
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He is guiding me every step of the way, and where he has brought me today is where he will provide for me, and prepare me for what is next.