Musings in Adversity IV

On Sunday night, knowing the seriousness of the medical situation I was facing, I could not sleep.

So, as lay in bed, I begin going over Psalm 23, memorizing it verse by verse.

I had memorized it years ago but had not gone back over it in an attempt to recommit it to memory in years. Then, as I lay in bed, and later as I sat in the doctor’s office I kept going over it in my mind and meditating on it and what each verse meant.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23

Maybe it was 50th time I had gone over it in my mind, I noticed something. In the first three verses when David is talking about the good times – the lying down in green pastures, walking beside quiet waters, the refreshing of his soul, and walking in righteousness – David speaks of the Lord in the third person.

But when David turns to the times of adversity, he refers to the Lord in the second person. When walking through a situation where death is such a possibility it casts a shadow on David’s life, he says, “You are with me . . . ,” “Your rod and staff, they comfort me . . . ,” “You prepare a table before me . . .,” and “You anoint my head with oil…”

Adversity creates the opportunity for God to become considerably more personable for us. Because of the adversity I was facing, I sought comfort from the Lord, and He comforted me by giving my legal assistant a word of encouragement. It was as if the Lord had spoken to me Himself, and He had. I had asked for comfort and He had given it, and the catalyst for it was adversity.

And because God is there for us in a more personal way in the place of adversity, David can say in conclusion, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life…” The goodness is found in the first three verses, but in the times of adversity we get to experience His lovingkindness in a way that is not experienced so easily for us in the days of prosperity.

And because we know there will be both days of prosperity and days of adversity ahead, we can know too, that if we press into God, His goodness and lovingkindness will follow us on our journey through both. GS

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