Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

November 2, 2011

Hunter Allen

Sophomore, Business Ethics Major, Pre-Med

Wis 3:1-9
Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Rom 5:5-11
Jn 6:37-40

“Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.”

The beautiful imagery in the words of Psalm 23 have always seemed to mesmerize me.  I heard them at practically every funeral that I served as an altar server, so I logically felt that such words were symbolic of dying and the reliving thereafter.

Such juxtaposition is indeed true, but it is highly incomplete.  The exact same words, of the exact same psalm, are words of living; and I’m not referring to the beautiful and eternal life in Heaven, I’m referring to the living that we partake in now: the good times, the bad times, times when we are relaxed, times when we are stressed, times when we feel God’s presence, and times when we feel separated from God.  Psalm 23 is thus underrated, in my opinion, and it deserves our attention.

“Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.”

Wants are interesting things.  Perhaps they are the single aspect that separate us from the rest of creation; we are given the ability to freely, and individually, choose our pleasures (or at least what we think gives us pleasure!).  And it is therefore logical to state that we often place our minds and our actions in a state that reflect such desires: we are often thinking about the next vacation, or finishing school, hanging out with friends, waiting for 5:00 to come, etc.  But although “looking at where the grass in greener on the ‘other side’” can comfort us, it also—at least for me—stresses me out.  Whilst counting down the days until Thanksgiving break, and dreaming of the wonderful thoughts of being with family (20 days!) I get worked up in the present: how am I going to survive the four tests I have in those twenty days? How am I going to survive this one particular week where my schedule seems filled to the brim? How am I going to find the time to complete my accounting project?

Such questions are fears.  Therefore, a major source for our fears lie in our desires; our means of finding a pseudo-comfort are the means that bring us down.  And this is where Psalm 23 comes in.

“Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.”

God calls for us to be present: to be present with those with whom we share this world , but more importantly, to be present with ourselves.  Am I saying that God forbids us and condemns us from having aspirations?  No.  But God is calling us to have this thing called faith.  Psalm 23 is a psalm for living.  It is a psalm that tells us to take things one step at a time—day by day.  It in essence calls us to break long-term goals into several short-term goals.  It calls us to become more aware of the things we are asked to do at the moment.  It calls us to relax and do the best we can do, right here, right now.

By turning to God, especially when we need him most, we recognize that the things we complete indeed do not belong to us, but to God himself.  We recognize that there lies a greater importance for our actions, to live Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.  We recognize that the journey that we once thought we traveled on our own we travel with a dear, close friend.  We recognize that the world we thought was once hopeless now in fact is abundant in hope.

We are called to cherish the moment.  We are called to make us aware of the very things we are doing now.  We are called to place fear in the hands of the Lord.  And in doing so, we are being shepherded.  We, the once frightened sheep, become comforted by the One who cares for us.  We become reborn.  We become alive. We become living.

“Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.”

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