Even now, my counseling sessions have been extremely difficult. I have had a few helpful glimpses into the dark corners of my past, but I just cannot seem to gather enough courage to face the true story of what really happened to me as a child. Though I have made progress, the deepest part of me is still numb, and I cannot dispel the extreme fear that I feel. But when I needed encouragement before attending another counseling session, God directed me to A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller.
As I read this book, I stopped often to pray what I was learning over one of my daughters. Oh, how I want her to know the Good Shepherd and to know how much he cares for her personally. She bears the broken, hurting heart of her own trauma. So, I stand in the gap for her and pray God’s Word into her life. On one particular day, I prayed over her the lesson from Psalm 23:2, “He makes me lie down in green pastures (NIV).” Keller, a real-life shepherd, writes that sheep will not lie down and be at rest unless they are completely free of fear and anxiety. The only person who can give them this assurance is the shepherd himself. His diligent management and care makes it possible “for them to lie down, to rest, to relax, to be content and quiet and flourishing” (Keller 42).
At this time my daughter, who had moved to a new state and started a new job, had fallen ill. She was already experiencing doubts about her job and her future, and being sick only added to her misery. In his book, Keller relates a story about how he responded once to sheep rustlers who threatened his flock. He, the shepherd, did what it took to keep them safe: he camped out with his sheep night after night until the rustlers became discouraged and left the area. So I started praying for this type of protection for my daughter, for the Good Shepherd to do whatever it took to keep her safe from the “rustlers” of this world. I entreated Christ to be present with her, to “dispel the fear, the panic, the terror of the unknown” (Keller 44).
As I prayed over my daughter, I was standing on a chair, cleaning a light fixture that probably had not been dusted in decades. I prayed and cleaned and hoped that I would not fall off the chair or break the light fixture. When I finished cleaning it, I stepped off the chair and took a close look. Wow! I could not believe my eyes. The cut glass of the fixture, newly cleaned, threw a beautiful pattern of light onto the ceiling and the room was suddenly so bright! I was amazed.
Then I heard God say, “You are like that light fixture.” I realized that, as I prayed over my daughter, I also needed to have my own fear and anxiety “dusted” away. Looking at the bright light now illuminating my ceiling gave me hope. I knew God was telling me that, when I eventually work through my situation, I will be like that light—clean, bright, and beautiful to behold. The Good Shepherd is working diligently in my life so that I will one day find contentment and be able to “lie down in green pastures.” My fear and numbness will be replaced with flourishing feelings.
Oh, dear Friend, the Good Shepherd will also do whatever it takes to protect you and allow you to lie down in contentment. One day our dust-covered hearts will be fully cleaned so that our lives can give forth a beautiful light to those around us. I am thankful for the Good Shepherd. Aren’t you?
Blessings – Lisa