"You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water and you refresh my soul.” Psalm 23, 2

 

Dear readers,

 

how many (filled) wallets do you own? Any number of handbags? How many shoes? One day Jesus asked his disciples: “When I sent you out without purse, bag or sandals, did you ever lack anything?” “No” they answered. “We didn´t miss anything” Luke 22, 35

 

Jesus ´ disciples went through a rather mysterious experience in faith. Their life at the side of the good shepherd Jesus became rich. Even without a large bank account, without a fancy branded handbag, without a few dozen shoes. Without any status symbols. These men lived at the absolute minimum of existence and still were able to say: We never went through any shortage. We had everything we needed. Amazing!

 

The apostle Paul knew deprivation. In 2 Corinthians he explains in detail to his critics what he had to go through as a follower of the Lord Jesus: “I had to work  much harder, I have been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.  Five times I received the forty lashes minus one from the Jews. Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from torrential waters in rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger both in cities and in the countryside as well as at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I am concerned each day about my churches” (2 Cor. 11, 23 – 28). That was not life in abundance, in prosperity. That was a time of suffering. This was a life next to the limit. And despite of all what was said, it was a life filled with the glory of God.

 

The "green meadow" and the "fresh water" are the intimate communion with Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ says: “I am the bread that gives life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again. And no one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty" (Joh. 6, 34 f). The disciples of Jesus and the apostle Paul had experienced this. We are called to experience this today as well. The Word of God, the bread of life, gives us satisfaction each day.

 

The mystery of the "lush pastures" and the "fresh water" lies solely with Jesus. The good shepherd "stores" and "leads" those who follow him. He cares for the people who follow Him and leads them to inner peace. The one who lets himself be guided by the Lord Jesus Christ will have no lack of peace for his soul. His soul never dies of thirst. Jesus Christ gives everything that the soul needs. There may come times of outer need, there may come hard times like Paul's, but the good shepherd Jesus cares for us.

 

Asaf was a man who had a wonderful experience in faith within deepest need. In 73rd Psalm (V 25 + 26), he writes: „Whom have I in heaven but you? And I desire no one on earth as much as You. My health fails; my spirits may drop, yet God remains! He is the strength for my heart, he is mine forever.”

 

My Lord, I desire no one on earth as much as You! I wish you dear reader this view of what really matters. It is a life of trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. I wish you, that you do not turn your view away from  Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, and trust that He will guide you well and understands your need. Even though you may have a lack of prosperity, of security, of health in this moment. Stay by his hand! Like David, like Paul, like Asaf. Remain blessed and protected in these difficult times.

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© 2020 Hans-Peter Nann, Frankfurt am Main