Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6)
My favorite collection of 24 words of the English language, David’s conclusion to his rich, powerful and gorgeous 23rd Psalm. As we go through Sheep Week, I’m happy to know two shepherds who get this every day. They remind me that a sheep has some of the best peripheral vision of all the mammals, something like 300 degrees, so they can see most of what’s happening behind them without turning their heads. That can be a good thing, but I think it also creates a lot of anxiety for sheep — and for me. What if your rear view mirror was bigger than the windshield in your car? Hard to move forward when you are processing so much information about the past. But here is David’s point: shepherds follow the sheep, so when we look back anxiously on what’s gaining on us or threatening us, it’s the goodness and mercy of the Lord that we see. Jesus ‘has my back’ as we say. I have to live not like an anxious little sheep, but as a permanent guest in God’s house full of goodness and mercy.
Lord forgive my obsession with the dangers and screw-ups behind me. I will rely on you grace and forgiveness to allow me to face forward and keep moving. Amen.