The Upper Room Devotion for Tuesday, October 24, 2023, was written by Flora Sagadevan of Sri Lanka.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I 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 goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
Psalm 23:1-6 NRSV
Our family is large. I am the youngest of six siblings - three girls and three boys. I lost both my mother and my father when I was very youg, and my elder brothers and sisters raised me. Following my mother's death from cancer, I felt utterly alone. I often cried, thinking, Why should I live? Jesus take me. I have no one to love me the way she did. But I have taken comfort in Psalm 23. My mother often recited these verses when I held her hand and went on walks with her or when I accompanied her to the hospital.
Now I am a grown woman with my own family, a career, and an independent life. Psalm 23, the passage my mother tought me when I was young, still comforts me; it gives me hope when I face sickness, sadness, or other challenges. As I recite that psalm from memory, joy and peace prevail in me. I have learned to look to God when I need my mother's love and also when I need my father's love. I know that God loves me and cares for me. God can comfort me like a mother and like a father.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
The words of Psalm 23 are amongst the first we memorize. Whether it's a part of our Sunday school lesson or confirmation, we are acquainted with Psalm 23 early and often. The words of the Psalm undergird us amidst our struggles and challenges. The image of God as a mindful, tender, and comforting shepherd offers us peace. Within the uncertainty and confusion of our daily lives, Christ offers us comfort and respite.
Loving God, thank you for comforting your children. Thank you for your continuous guidance and favor. Amen.