Hanging on by a toe. On Wednesday, I didn’t see the lizard on my windshield until I was going 20 mph, at which point all of him was dangling in the air except one toe. I understand the feeling well. The end of June a bulging disc in my lower back had me just hanging on through the mind-numbing pain. Yet as days turned to weeks and the pain finally subsided bit by miniscule bit, only one thing tamed it like no other, Psalm 23. Decades ago in a similar situation, my pastor told me to read Psalm 23 four times a day and after several weeks had passed to write my own version based on what I understood from God through my relationship with Jesus. I prescribe this regularly to those in pain of any kind for what I found in my own use showed me God’s love more clearly than I ever comprehended before.
So, I did it again. I read that Psalm aloud so often that I memorized it then I said it some more. Soon the peace I found in the Psalm came to me automatically from just the first phrase, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” (NIV). Oh, the first time I read it, in my mind I continued on to add “except being pain free.” And right there it was, right in front of me yet often unseen or misunderstood. I lacked nothing that I needed, just what I wanted. Like the lizard, I might be hanging on by only a toe, but I was hanging on and the reason had nothing to do with me. Faithful to his word, the Lord my shepherd did not leave or forsake me. And in those moments when I might toy with the idea that he had, a simple, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” and peace of the Holy Spirit reminded me that whatever I did not have was something I didn’t need.
Thankfully, I’m feeling pretty good these days due to physical therapy, medication and cortisone injections, all part of an ongoing recovery. I hope I never recover, though, from that sense deep in my bones that because the Lord is my Shepherd, I truly lack absolutely nothing.
What about you? How does it change your perspective to read Psalm 23? To say out loud, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing?” How has God worked in your life while you were hanging on by a toe?