God gives us everything we need–just not everything we want.
“The Lord is my Shepherd–I shall not want!” Psalm 23:1
Many of us are familiar with the promises in the Bible about God providing for his people. He will take care of us, protect us, and because of him we “will not want.” But an honest appraisal of our lives often shows that there are many things we lack. Bills go unpaid. A husband forsakes his wife. Some people, some Christians even, will starve to death this year. So what do these promises mean when God says he will shepherd us and provide for us so that we do not lack what we need?
Though life can feel chaotic, and the world may seem out of control, we are assured that our purpose is to glorify God, and his purpose in our life is our own good (Romans 8:28). As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” No matter how calm, crazy or hard life gets we have a purpose. We have a reason for our existence and a God who is at our side to help us at all times.
Some seasons in life can leave us feeling lonely, overlooked, unwanted or maybe even unloved. But never forget that our Shepherd bled for us so that we would always be accepted, always wanted, never alone, and never overlooked. Everything he does for us he does out of love and everything he allows into our lives is allowed because of his deep love for us (John 11:10).
When we catch a glimpse at the filth that lives in our hearts or the ugliness that can come out of our mouths we can easily be discouraged. I have been a Christian for at least 35 years and there are days when I feel like my sin gets the better of me more often than I have victory over it. I get tired with myself and wonder how, on earth, God can continue to forgive me. But that is just it, God is not of this earth. His forgiveness is divine and eternal. Every sinful thought, word, and action we have ever had or done has been forgiven. Every sin we will commit in the future will be forgiven. This should give us humble joy, a desire to worship, and motivation to continue fighting the good fight. (1 John 1:9)
By the time I hit my 40’s I thought I would have life figured out. I was genuinely surprised when that day came and I realized that I felt more clueless than I did in my 20s. How could life not be running smoothly by now? Thankfully we are not left to our own devices. Our good Shepherd has told us that all we have to do is ask and he will give us the wisdom that we need to learn more about him and navigate this life. (James 1:5)
I’ve never been a high energy person, and by the end of the day, I really look forward to my bed and hopefully a good night’s sleep. But physical rest isn’t the only rest that we need. I think we all know what it is like to be so emotionally drained that you can’t even cry or so spiritually exhausted that you just don’t know what to pray for. Our God is full of compassion and tells us many times to come to him and we will find the rest that we so desperately need. (Matthew 11:28)
Just like children who need to be guided, taught and corrected, so we also, as spiritual children need those same things. Our teacher is the most patient and gentle teacher there is. He never overcorrects or corrects us for the wrong thing. The difficulties we experience, the storms we encounter and the correction we receive are for our growth in holiness. (Proverbs 3:12)
There will be situations when we lack what we want, but we will never lack what we need to live a life unto God. When it comes down to what we need most, our Shepherd will make sure that we lack nothing. Someone who is willing to die for you will also provide for you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3 ).
“I shall not want!” Surely not! He is the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep; and if He has loved me, and given Himself for me–then what will He withhold?