Signposts: Daily Devotions

Tuesday, September 16

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
—Psalm 23: 1-3

Written on Day 5 of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

As I watch with horror or read the heartbreaking stories and statistics, I can’t think of any words that express what I am feeling. This morning, as I saw a man sitting on the roof of his house, where he’d been for three days, I wondered, What has he been thinking? What are his prayers?

I wondered, of all the thousands of words of Scripture, what would come into my heart at a time like that? There are other parts of the Bible that I love: Jesus’ parables and stories, for example. I would get great comfort in remembering about mustard seed faith, or the lost sheep. And I love the Genesis stories, too, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob—and of course Noah and the flood. 

But the one I know by heart, the one that first came to mind when I asked myself this question, was Psalm 23. God is my Good Shepherd; he knows my name and has loved me all of my life. God watches over me, when I awake and as I sleep. God leads me toward still waters—those that calm me, soothe me. Above all, God restores my soul.

Meditating on those words, I pray that I would have the trust to continue the psalm: Though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 

As we continue to mourn for those in the midst of this disaster, perhaps our best prayer would be to repeat these words, for them and with them.

Dear Lord, prepare tables before these your children in the presence of their enemies; anoint their heads with oil; let their cups overflow. Surely your goodness and mercy will follow them all the days of their life, and they shall dwell in you house forever. Amen.

The Signposts for September are written by Margaret Jones and originally appeared on explorefaith in 2005.