Read Psalm 23:1-3 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”
Reflect What other benefits does God provide in these verses? How does the image of God in these verses contrast with other popular images of God?
You're in your car. Suddenly, your pulse is racing, your breath is coming in gasps--you feel like you're about to die. Was it a car accident? No, you haven't even left the driveway yet. This is a panic attack.
Many people experience regular panic attacks, while many never have them. For those who haven't experienced them, basically it's like a strong physical reaction to fear when there's nothing around to be afraid of.
Doctors aren't quite sure on the exact causes of panic attacks. It could be biological, maybe hereditary, or environmental (stress levels). It's probably a bit of all three. For treatment, certain prescription drugs can address the symptoms, and other relaxation techniques can help reduce the severity and frequency of the attacks. So, where does the Bible come into all of this?
Long before the doctors at the Mayo Clinic could put down their ideas for reducing stress, David wrote down God's way.
The Bible doesn't say why David wrote Psalm 23, but it's not hard to imagine David saying these words over and over to himself in a particularly stressful time. Look at verses 1-3.
David reminds himself that God is watching after him, and that he has everything he needs. He goes on to imagine himself being led by God in green pastures and relaxing by peaceful streams. It's interesting that many modern techniques for reducing stress involve relaxing your body and imagining yourself in peaceful surroundings. But remember, God said it first!
But these aren't just mind tricks, they're truth. Because if you've trusted Christ as your Savior, He really is your shepherd. He really does provide what you need. He really does calm your fears, renew your strength, and guide you along the best path for your life.
God knew that some days stress would overwhelm you. That's why this Psalm is in the Bible. To remind you of the facts when you just can't think straight. And thousands of years later, modern medicine has yet to find a better way than what God prescribed.
Pray Lord, thank You for caring about every detail of my life. Help me to handle the stresses I encounter every day. Help me to find peace in You. Amen.