“The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me],Psalm 23:1-2(AMP)
I shall not want.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.
He refreshes and restores my soul (life);”
I sat down with my Bible and coffee, feeling nice and sorry for myself; Ready to have my prayer time with God.
Before I even said a word, God spoke to my heart and said, Check your heart.
I then became very aware of a subconscious feeling I had been harboring for a while. Of coarse, I wouldn’t admit to it, because until this moment, I couldn’t even identify it. So I’m hoping this helps you recognize it too, if this poisonous thought pattern is raging unchecked through your life as well.
You see, I was feeling sorry for myself because of what happened to me. And because I felt like God could have stopped it, but let it happen anyway, that I was now somehow doing Him a favor by still showing up to pray and spend time with Him. As if I was being good even though He wasn’t.
That right there- is poison. Any thought pattern that begins with God not being completely and perpetually good is danger. Stay away from it.
God is good. You might not understand what happened, you might be confused and angry. It might not look like it, or feel like it. But just like gravity is going to hold you down no matter how much you want to fly, God is going to be good regardless of your circumstances.
After God and I got that all out in the open, rather than scold me for my heart issues, He gave me some heavenly perspective of what my situation looked like to Him.
He said, Don’t feel sorry for yourself. You are not like the world who has no hope. You are immeasurably blessed.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5(AMP)
Overflows. If it were a measuring cup, only what was in the cup could be measured. But everything over the top line would be immeasurable. Can’t count it. Can’t contain it. Can’t control it.
And while, that sounds amazing, I didn’t feel like my cup was overflowing. How could He consider me blessed with everything that had happened to me? Then I opened my Bible to a verse in James that answered my question very clearly.
“Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12(AMP)
Blessed is the man who is steadfast under trial. Blessed in the middle of trouble. Now that, I could identify with.
When the world is going through something, they’re just going through something. If they experience loss, it’s just lost. If they feel pain, it just hurts. But not believers. Not those who have Jesus as their Shepard. We have this blessed redemption that nothing is wasted and nothing is beyond God’s ability to restore it.
“They who sow in tears shall reap with joyful singing. He who goes back and forth weeping, carrying his bag of seed [for planting], Will indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6(AMP)
They who sow in tears. You see, pain for the world is just pain. But pain for the believer, is seed.
Your tears are not in vain, they are to be planted right where you are, in the middle of adversity. Because what will spring from them is joy. God does not waste our season of sorrow.
This verse talks about the one who is weeping, but still carrying the bag of seed. Do not stop sowing just because you’re sad. Do not give up just because you’re in the valley. Do not waste your seed by failing to continue to plant it. If I have to walk through the valley, I might as well plant some flowers for others who are going to pass through here after me.
God promises to turn our sorrow into joy. He does not ask you to suck it up. He doesn’t tell you to not be sad, or mourn. In fact, He encourages it. You don’t have to apologize for your tears with God. They don’t make him uncomfortable.
Pay attention to what you weep over. Because that area in your life, according to this verse, is where you’ll find your harvest. It’s where God is working on your joy.
In the chapter of Psalm 23, the beginning talks about how with God as our Shepard, He leads us beside still waters and in green pastures. He gives peace and rest. And then in the later portion of the chapter it says,
“Even though I walk through the [sunless] [a]valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You have anointed and refreshed my head with [b]oil;
My cup overflows.” Psalm 23:4-5(AMP)
It talks about a table that represents provision and blessing. But notice where the table is. It’s not in the green peaceful pasture at the beginning of the chapter. It’s in the presence of enemies.
That tells me that there is provision in the valley, that you cannot find in the pasture.
There is blessing in the trial, that you cannot get without the trouble.
God does not bring the trials, but He surely doesn’t waste them. He is present. He is able. He is working. He is providing. He is blessing you no matter where you walk.
Your cup overflows in the valley. There is a table set for you in the middle of your current struggle. You have a seat. You have a Shepard. You have everything you need to make it out of this better than you walked in.
So I’ve got good news for you, if you’re walking in the midst of trouble and the only seed you have to sow is sorrow- you’re blessed.
Blessed doesn’t mean everything is going your way, or nothing is wrong. It means whether you are enjoying the peace of the pastures, or the provision in the valley, God is with you, God is working, and there is hope. Joy is always our result. There is goodness in both places, because Abba is there.
You are blessed. Right here, after the divorce. You are blessed right here, after the miscarriage, you are blessed right here after the job loss. After your friends left you, after someone betrayed you, after your mistakes, after a bad report, in the middle of the struggle- you are blessed. There is a table. There is a cup. And here, right here in the middle, does it overflow.
You might be going through the same difficulties as the world, but you will not have the same results as they do. Because a believers tears turn to joy. Believers ashes turn to beauty.
“You will be blessed when you come in and you will be blessed when you go out. The Lord will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way, but flee before you seven ways.” Deut. 28:6-7(AMP)
Next time your brain or the devil tries to tell you that you are losing, or that God is not working, you remind them that whether everything goes exactly like you wanted it to, or exactly as you feared, you are going to come out of it better, fuller, stronger, and with more than you went in. We are not hopeless, we are not rejected, we are not losing.
My cup runs over.