When You Need A Shepherd


Grief’s a funny thing.

Not funny/haha but funny/ironic. Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross demonstrated that grief progresses through similar stages across cultures, but no two individuals navigate their grief in precisely the same manner. It’s a completely universal human experience, yet we each experience it in our own unique manner.

In a recent memorial service the pastor recited the familiar words of comfort from Psalm 23. As he read the ancient verses, my thoughts went to an old friend, another pastor who once offered some thoughts on the opening words. I’ll invite you, if you wish, to read along, perhaps add your reflections and find your own comfort.

The Lord is my shepherd.

THE Lord is my shepherd.

Not just any lord…THE Lord.

The LORD is my shepherd.

The LORD, creator and ruler of the universe…

The Lord IS my shepherd.

A statement of faith. I know the Lord IS my shepherd.

The Lord is MY shepherd.

I’m not a face in the crowd, one of the herd. He’s Lord, and He’s MY shepherd.

The Lord is my SHEPHERD.

I’m guided, protected, cared for, I’m never lost or alone, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

Grief’s a funny thing. In its midst, I felt like I could use some guidance and protection. A shepherd seemed like the answer. “THE. LORD IS. MY. SHEPHERD.” brought a sense of peace, as though it was OK to lie down in a green pasture and rest.

If you’re wrestling with grief, maybe it’ll help you as well.