For some reason the local newspaper didn't run this scheduled submission for the "Faith" column this last week. And I even submitted it early! Oh, well ....
May 19th update: They indeed ran the column today. Bless you, PQ News. :-)
I was not an especially promising Sunday School student. I am a baby boomer and I went to Sunday School during that long-passed era of massive attendance, when it was the norm for most Canadians to go to church on a Sunday. Church Schools were often enormous in those days. One of the memories I have of that time is being required to memorize Bible verses. In my church, to spur on participants, we were rewarded for success in the venture by being given assorted buttons and medals. I managed to win but one of these trophies: a diminutive “Blue Button” (I wore it on my suit—yes, this 6 year old had a suit) which indicated that I had profitably memorized the 23rd Psalm. Perhaps because I so struggled with that task, my Sunday School career in memorization collapsed after that achievement. Happily, Psalm 23 has stayed with me.
I am not especially attached to the King James Version of the Bible, but I do have some fondness for its rendering of the Psalms, in part because it is extraordinary poetry and probably because it was the version I first encountered as a not-very-good 6 year old biblical scholar. Psalm 23 famously begins, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” I quickly embraced the image of God being my shepherd. Even at age 6 I knew I need all the help I could get (Curiously, somewhere along the way, the face of the shepherd somehow became what I imagined Jesus’ face looked like). “I shall not want” has always been the challenging part of the verse in that it is a bit ambiguous. A couple of friends recently spoke to me about their own confusion. One told me that as a child she was puzzled as to why she wouldn’t “want” the Lord as her shepherd. The other told me about how their study and meditation on the verse led them to freshly translate it as, “The Lord’s my shepherd … and that’s enough.” When we put our trust in the Shepherd, do we really think we will be abandoned? No, the Lord’s my shepherd, and that’s enough.
I have found that this rendering of a most familiar verse especially helpful and readily applicable. Try it. When you discover that the future you have been banking on is not going to be what you had hoped for, maybe it’s time to remember, “The Lord’s my shepherd, and that’s enough.” Or when that relationship fails to thrive, it might be time to recall that, “The Lord’s my shepherd, and that’s enough.” Or you’re suddenly faced with the reality that you are regularly sabotaged by your flaws, try saying to yourself, “The Lord’s my shepherd, and that’s enough.” When you just don’t know what to do … “The Lord’s my shepherd, and that’s enough.”
Despite a less than promising start, somehow God led me to a little higher degree of biblical proficiency. But strangely, one of the first things I learned may have been one of the most valuable: the Lord’s my shepherd, and that’s enough.