“I shall not want”

At the retreat I attended the day before I headed to the Festival of Faith and Writing, there were several contemplative sessions that were headed up by Ed.

In one of our last sessions before heading out for the evening, we were given several lines of different verses, and were to choose one to meditate on and to listen to what God wanted to speak to us about.

Previously in the day, we had already repeated and listened to Psalm 23 and it washed over us in lilting melody. Pieces of the verse had reverberated at that point, but this particular time of reflection had me pondering the first verse:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…

My mind stuck on the term ‘want’. I pondered what it might stand for.

If I ‘shall not want’ then it means that I will not lack, that i have more than enough, there is grace and mercy for my life, and that what is necessary will be taken care of.

I also thought about what ‘wanting’ might look like: to be focused too much on self, to feel a sense of scarcity and to fear.

As I focused on the term ‘want’ it seemed to resonate with me that it was an ‘aching hole’ that could only be filled by the One who alone knew what I needed, and knows what I need.

And then I was reminded that there was a ‘not’ that meant – He will provide, He knows and sees what I need and what I long for.

My heart pondered the idea of MY shepherd, how he hadn’t pawned off my soul and its wants to something/someone else. That he takes care of every one. He does so with everyone.

This is not a task for Him, but rather he does these things with a heart of love, a heart of direction for those he loves and holds dear.

There is also a sense of a heart of sacrifice in what has been given on our behalf, to render this gift available to us, that speaks to that wounded place of want.

As MY shepherd, ‘He joins me in the journey; in the midst of the fray. He is looking too and fro, there is never anything that catches Him unaware. His eyes miss nothing. He hears each voice, and gives of Himself undivided to everyone who calls on His Name.

(reflections from Renew and Refine Retreat, Grand Rapids, Michigan; April 13/2016


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