Psalm 23 holds a special place in my heart. Why? A couple of reasons. First of all, it happens to be my great-grandpa’s personal favorite. Even though he’s with Jesus today, my family compares me to him. I look like him. Play the keys like him. And, of course, I often find myself similarly attracted to words.
So there’s the first reason, but here’s the second: it leaves me speechless.
On Wednesday morning, I open my Bible to the beloved scripture and begin reading. Before too long, I sit speechless on my porch. The breeze blows. The sun shines. l feel closer to God than I have for a long time.
And that’s exactly what I crave—His beautiful presence. In fact, even as I write this, my soul longs for that perfect peace. I’m addicted to Jesus.
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1).
There’s nothing I want more than the presence of my Shepherd.
You see, over the past couple of months, I’ve struggled heavily with anxiety and burnout—namely because of my overloaded schedule. And the consequences have been detrimental to my relationship with Jesus.
I crave Jesus. Nothing else. No church service. No book. No song. No religion. Nope. None of that. Just Jesus.
I’m going to seek Him like crazy. I’m believing for God to demolish my anxiety and burnout. I want to be close to Him again, don’t you?
For the next several weeks, my column will be addressing several different “re—” words. Why? Because I need this prefix—one that means “again” or “back.” As David Dunn says, “I wanna go back to ‘Jesus loves me this I know.’”
This week, the “re—” word describing my pursuit is re-evaluate. Let’s study the first five words of Psalm 23.
“The Lord is my shepherd…” (V. 1). It’s a simple statement with a profound meaning. But when you find yourself truly seeking Jesus, only the simple things matter. When you sense your foundation crumbling, Jesus takes the forefront of your mind.
Just as ungodly people run to God when catastrophe strikes, so I run to Jesus when life looks shaky. Why does it look shaky? Because my relationship with Jesus is lacking. So here I am, running to the one I’ve fallen from. But it’s not just sin that separates people from God. Sometimes, it’s a prison cell full of doubt.
I’ll let Matthew tell the story. “John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’” (11:2-3).
Uncertainty strikes. Doubt looms. Here’s one of the Bible’s greatest men wondering, “Jesus, are you really who you say you are?”
But it happens—you know, when humanity is distanced from the Savior. When there seems to be a chasm between you and Jesus. When you, like John, want to be close to Jesus once again. So you ask the simple question and hope the best.
Remember, we are re-evaluating. It’s question time.
One of the reasons why people struggle with burnout is because of unmet expectations. And let me tell you, John’s expectations are certainly not met. I mean, he prepares the way for Jesus! Now, instead of joining in the success of the Gospel, John sits in a prison cell. It’s like the introductory figure being kicked-out of the conference upon introducing the keynote speaker.
Like me, John seeks Jesus like crazy. He begins by re-evaluating the identity of Christ. Jesus responds by describing the amazing miracles being performed by God’s power. Then, He says, “God blesses those who do not turn away because of me” (V. 6).
Have no preconceived idea of what your life should look like. Instead, ask yourself a question.
“Am I who I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing, where I’m supposed to be doing it?”
There’s no better way to begin a quest back toward Jesus. Start with re-evaluation, and let the simple things cause you to smile again.
Isaiah Pauley is a junior at Wahama High School. His blogs and videos can be found at www.crosswordsblog.weebly.com