Focal Passage: Psalm 23:1-6
The late Herschel H. Hobbs shared the story of a ship caught in the grips of a storm at sea. The terrified passengers thought there was no hope for survival. Then one of the passengers decided to go up on the bridge. When he saw the captain — he regained his peace and calm. The captain’s face was beaten by the wind and rain but his hands held the helm firmly. He had a smile on his face as he held the ship on its course! Similarly, God has His hands firmly in control of the stormy seas of our contemporary life. We find our shelter from life’s storms in His presence!
Psalm 23 uses two metaphors to emphasize the fact that God’s presence provides shelter from life’s storms. We will focus on the metaphor of God as shepherd. As our good Shepherd — He leads, feeds, and keeps us! We can be certain that He walks through the storm with us regardless of the outcome. His presence reassures us that God’s got our storm in His grip. This psalm teaches two timeless truths that allow us to know contentment even in life’s storms.
God’s presence pilots us and prepares us in our every day storms. Here, David states assuredly that, “The Lord is my shepherd.” As a matter of fact David asserts that God’s presence is all that he needs as he states, “there is nothing I lack.” He literally says that in having a loving and gracious shepherd that he has everything he needs past, present, and future. Most of us for most of the time have no huge storms brewing in our lives. So, it is easier to say that God’s presence will provide shelter from the everyday storms in our life.
The shepherd provides green pastures, quiet waters, and right paths. In other words — the shepherd feeds, leads, and protects. The sheep are in such a trusting, contented relationship with the shepherd that they literally can lie down without fear of their circumstances. They know that their shepherd is always watching out for them. You and I can know this same contentment as God’s presence pilots and prepares us in the midst of everyday storms.
God’s presence pilots us and prepares us in our darkest storms. When we properly assess most of the everyday storms that blow into our life — most of us can identify with David in saying God is faithful. But what about those super storms that blow into our life without warning and threaten the very foundations of our faith?
David wrote, “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger.” There are storms in life and then there are super storms in life. Here the confidence is expressed that even the darkest valley cannot overcome the presence of God’s light in the believer’s life. He is always on the job as stated in, “for You are with me.” In life’s super storms we often don’t know the end of the story but we do know that God is right there with us in the midst of the storm!
Contemporary Christ-followers are not immune from storms in their lives. The storm may be gathering slowly just off in the distance where we experience only the winds from the storm in our face and gently feel the vibrations from the claps of thunder. Or the storm may develop suddenly without warning and be close in proximity and threatening in its demeanor!
Regardless of the storm in one’s life — God’s people find shelter from the storm knowing that God is present in their life and that He is in control. He has our storm in His grip!
— Pressnell is senior pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church, Mount Carmel.