Having grown up going to church and Sunday School, I occasionally take for granted Bible passages or stories I learned over and over as a child, such as the Lord’s Prayer, John 3:16 or the Fruit of the Spirit. Psalm 23 is probably the best-known chapter in the Bible so it too can be easy to gloss over it after the first verse.
One day, my attention was drawn to four words from Psalm 23 I hadn’t given a whole lot of thought to as a child—probably because it didn’t speak to a specific need at that point in my life. Verse 3 begins: “He restores my soul…” Have you ever reflected on what that means?
I’ve seen a lot of construction and renovation work over the years. Though they are not living things, buildings undergo stress and sometimes the wear and tear on them has serious consequences. Pipes may leak, ceilings may crack, floors may warp. . .I’m sure you could add your own house woes to the list. The problems may be due to natural causes or the result of neglect and abuse.
Similarly, our bodies go through physical deterioration—sometimes as the natural result of aging, sometimes because of illnesses or accidents, but often simply from not taking good care of ourselves.
More serious is what happens to our souls. We suffer when Satan attacks us with temptations, trials, lies or persecution. We suffer when people hurt or mistreat us. We suffer when we shift our focus off of God and stray from Him. These things will happen. It would be naïve to expect to walk the Christian journey trouble-free. The question is, what do we do in difficult situations?
Ideally, with regular maintenance and check-ups—whether it’s for our homes or our health—drastic measures can be avoided. Prevention is always more desirable than major renovations or surgery, isn’t it? We can’t avoid or prevent all the problems that come our way, but we can keep them to a minimum if we’re alert and disciplined.
Ideally, with regular examination of our hearts in light of Scripture and, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will avoid the spiritual pitfalls and traps the devil sets out for us. And yet problems will still come our way, catching us off guard and threatening to destroy us.
Thankfully, we have a Shepherd who not only loves us, provides for us and leads us, but who also restores us. Better than any renovation job, better than any antibiotic, Jesus Christ can restore our souls and bring us back to a place of joy and peace.