I am pursued by a wolf, circling me, ready to attack at my weakest moment. I am never able to be content. I am never secure.
All I can see are miles and miles of wilderness in every direction. There is nowhere to sit and rest without the hot sun scorching me. The earth has been dried up. Nothing can quench its thirst for peace. My soul has been drained past empty. Restoration is hopeless.
I am left alone to wander, lost along treacherous paths. I find myself in the abyss of fear and despair. I turn away from the Lord's rod, falling deeper into the abyss.
My stomach aches with hunger while my enemies enjoy lavish banquets.
Certainly, I will be left here to die in the presence of all that I fear. I will find no shelter. I will have no home.
Sometimes we all have those days, months, semesters. But the faith of our ancestors shows another way to view the world. A way that brings comfort. A worldview that reminds me that I am not alone.
Psalm 23 (New International Version)
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
(The first writing is a Reverse Psalm that I wrote as a spiritual practice of prayer. Try it sometime. It may make a well known Psalm come to life again.)