This morning, we woke up to heated talk about the presidential election.
Throughout the day, political strategists will make their predictions, and the stakes will be discussed in starker and starker terms as we move through the day.
Millions will agonize over their vote, and then nervously watch the returns come in tonight.
This election has been disconcerting to say the least.
It has been defined by the presumption of fear and instability.
We are told that great enemies surround us, and that our fate will be decided when the votes are tallied.
It is right to think of pleasant things while reading the twenty-third Psalm: the calm of still waters and the peace of green pastures.
We read this Psalm, some of the best-known literature the world has ever known, and we are transported in our minds and in our spirit.
We are reminded of God’s character and the promise He has for our lives.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
3 He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will 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 anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
It is a Psalm for all times, a reminder of the constant things and eternal truths.
Yet, to think this Psalm is primarily for our moments of reflection or mourning is to miss its meaning.
The Twenty-Third Psalm is not just for the backdrop of our lives, a reminder in the moments when we finally catch our breath.
No, this Psalm is meant for when we are in the very thick of life, for the very moment of crisis.
David, of course, was not someone who lived a simple life.
He was a warrior and a king. He led armies and slayed giants. He faced major trials—many of his own making.
This Psalm is not just a reflection on God’s faithfulness, but an overflow of David’s experience of God’s faithfulness at the present time.
The same God who led David beside still waters, and who prepared a table for him in the midst of his trial, that God is alive & well today.
If you have cast your lot with Jesus, He says that we can abide in Him and He will take care of our needs.
If David can find security in God as others plot his demise, surely we can trust Jesus for our security in the midst of an election.
This does not mean that we ignore reality.
This is the great relief of the Psalm: that David is able to acknowledge that he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, but God meets him right there in the mess with blessing and anointing and comfort.
Likewise, as we move through this day, we do not ignore the real consequences that the outcome of this election will have on our well-being and that of our neighbors, our country and the world.
We can even care deeply about the outcome.
But let us not live as though we have no Shepherd.
We can find security at all times in Him, and we need not fear any evil.
We worship a great and compassionate God, who is ushering in a certain kingdom, and whose term as King is not for four or eight years, but for all time.
Michael Wear is the author of the forthcoming book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the White House About the Future of Faith in America.
Pick up our story of The Broken Way and how to love a brokenhearted world. This one’s for all of us who have felt our hearts break a bit…
This one’s for the brave and the busted and the real and dreamers and the sufferers and the believers.