I have to admit that I have a tendency to focus on the destination rather than the journey. I’ve often said that I would enjoy my vacations more if I didn’t have to spend time getting there. Every time I hear some profound quotation about enjoying the journey, I think, I really should learn how to do that! The problem with my way of doing things is that I always seem to be looking forward to a future event, rather than fully enjoying the present.
When I was a very young girl in Sunday School, I had to memorize Psalm 23, though at the time it was referred to as The Twenty-Third Psalm. I memorized it in the King James Version, and I still think of it that way. Like most verses I memorized in the KJV, it always seems a little odd to read them in a different version. But I think it’s a very good practice to look at scripture in different versions, especially if you are familiar with it, because new wording may make you look at the passage a little differently. Such is the case for me with Psalm 23.
It started with thinking about Bella, a friend’s 9 month old daughter with stage 3 cancer—thoracic neuroblastoma. The Lord gave me a vision of my friend and her baby walking through a dark valley, and the assurance that they would reach the other side. But the only way out of the valley was to walk through it; there was no way around.
We all have different circumstances in our lives that could be regarded as our dark valley. Injuries, job loss, family breakdown, house fires, natural disasters… the list of tragedies we might face in our lifetime could go on and on. And in many cases there is nothing we can do to avoid them. So how do we make it through? We let the Lord be our shepherd and lead us. Now I see Psalm 23 as a journey. I am walking through the valley, but with my shepherd beside me, I will lack nothing. I will be protected and have no reason to fear. One day I will be victorious, and, like the psalmist, instead of being pursued by my enemies, I will be pursued by God’s goodness and faithfulness. And you can be sure that I will enjoy my final destination.