It seems even those who don’t know the Bible have heard at least parts of this passage of scripture. It is one of the most popular and encouraging group of verses quoted and paraphrased every hour of every day somewhere in the world.
I would like to share this version with you. I will quote a verse and then translate it for those needing the hope and encouragement you need now during the divorce healing process.
Psalm 23:1 ESV
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Jesus is watching over you. He is looking out for danger and possible attacks against you. If you have Him, you have everything you need to get through this. Don’t think another relationship will give you true peace. It won’t fill that God-shaped hole inside of you.
Psalm 23:2 ESV
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
Jesus will make you rest. He will cause you to take time to be refreshed. He will make sure it is a place still full of life and nourishment (grass and water). As a lamb, you need a safe place to pause and regain your strength. Jesus will allow you to see the lush, green grass between your toes and the mirror-like surface of the freshest water you have ever seen.
Psalm 23:3 ESV
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Jesus brings back your soul from the place of brokeness. He fixes the shattered pieces and puts them together again. He will be your ever present help as you make decisions that will affect you and your family from this day forward. It will be a path that glorifies Him as it brings forth transformation in you.
Psalm 23:4 ESV
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.
Jesus will calm your fears of what is to come as you choose to walk with him through this valley in your life. Though it may feel like you are near death and being haunted by an evil shadow, He is right there with you. Hold on to Him, because He wants to hold onto you. His rod is an instrument of protection from harm as it displays His strength towards the enemy. His staff is the way He guides you, lovingly rescuing you from those places you seem to find yourself in that are not good for you. Those give you a peace, knowing how much He loves you in those ways.
Psalm 23:5 ESV
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.
Jesus is creating a place where you will feast upon God’s blessings while others will be able to see His goodness towards you. He will flood your heart and mind with an abundance of peace and joy as you commune with Him at His table. There will come a day that you will be able to help others from the overflow of His goodness in your life. Your healing will flow out to those around you because of what God has done in you.
Psalm 23:6 ESV
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Get ready for the rest of your life!! You will experience a life where people will see God’s goodness and mercy flow out of you wherever you go. You can experience the life God has for you, as a son or daughter of the King in His house full of love and peace. As you stay in His home, you will.
Don’t let your emotions and self-image cause you to stray. Wolves are waiting for you to be isolated and wounded. God will come to your rescue. Just call on Jesus and rest in Him. He is your shepherd.
God is always writing a new chapter in our lives. Our life story is being written by an author and creator that already knows how the story will end.
Do we know how it will go?
Of course not. We are living that story and you can’t see into the future. While we can do everything we can to invest, change, grow, and learn to become what we believe is our better self, many things go into the next chapter.
I used to think I wanted to know my future. The older I get, the more I realize that I would not have chosen that future. I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to have things and be someone that is nothing close to what I have or who I am now.
Saying all of that, I would not change one thing in my past because of what God has done in and through my life to bring me to where I am now.
Do I have regrets? More than I can ever count? Do I wish things would have been different? Only if I would have what I have now, know what I know now, be as blessed as I am now, and know that through everything, God has been faithful to bring forth wholeness to me through it all, in spite of me and my failings.
So, why are we both taking a moment right now to acknowledge the turning of a page in our lives?
Our story is not made up of only a couple dozen chapters. It is a complete rendering of our life on earth. It has many characters, plot twists, and shocking events. It includes love, pain, joy, loss, life, and death.
It is a record for all of eternity that you exist. You matter. You are a part of human history and God’s story.
While most lives will never make the history books in our schools or the shelves of our libraries and Kindles, it still is being written. It is still there. It will always be there, even if nobody ever sees it or reads it.
God has a place for our story. He is recording our daily lives, knowing how it will end. Yet, He is letting us co-write it.
We know that God gave us a free will. There are consequences and results from every decision and action for our whole life. This is our part of the story writing.
Think of it as a REAL (not psuedo-real) reality show. As you go through voting people off, back-stabbing, helping your teammates, lifting others up, and striving to be your best, God is putting pen to paper on your story.
How do you think God goes about recording your prayers to Him? Is it like you talking to Him for advice on how to handle a situation or relationship? Do you ignore His subtle and sometimes abrupt requests for just a few minutes to spend time with Him?
Since He knows the whole story, I wonder if we see how advantageous it would be to ask Him about His plans on how our story should go. God has a best plan for us. It is up to us to come into alignment with that plan in order for Him to give us our best life.
How would our life story change if we asked the One who knows how the story ends? How would being obedient to His calling and direction affect our selfish and simplistic look at our lives? Could we see our life actually is a vital part of human history?
What is your next chapter?
Will it be full of disappointment, pain, and selfishness to the point of destruction at the hand of substance abuse, suicide, or just giving up on life and letting things happen?
Will it be full or a restoration of your self-image, a renewing of your mental well-being, and a testimony to God’s redeeming work in your life?
Take a moment right now to decide how you want the next chapter to read. Set a few minutes aside to quiet yourself and honestly talk to God.
Tell Him what you are feeling. Be honest. If you can’t be honest with yourself and others, at least be honest with Him. He loves you and is on your side. Let it out.
Ask Him what this next chapter looks like. It may amaze you that He wants to write about the healing and wholeness He has for you. He is wants to marvel that this will not be a chapter in your life that will look back to the other chapters already written but looks look forward to the life story to come.
Picture yourself at a Panera (where I am right now enjoying a hot Orange Mint Herbal Tea) sitting across from God himself. He has a pad and paper in front of Him and has a nice pen in His right hand touching the paper. On the top of the page reads “The Next Chapter”.
He looks at you with excitement in His heart, wondering what you want written down. His eyes are filled with a love you are just now starting to understand. His voice asks you softly, “My child, what is next? How do you want this to start?”