“You revive my drooping head.” Psalm 23:5b MSG
Life will make your head droop. Often.
But what about those days when you really, physically, can’t lift your head?
There’s something about illness that reduces you to places of despair that you wouldn’t experience otherwise. When you’re healthy, you’re free. But when you’re sick, you are bound.
Yesterday, God had me write a list of the ways over the years that He has rescued me, miraculously shifted things for me, or spared my life.
At the top of the list is my recent bout with fever that lasted almost three weeks. I went to urgent care, the ER and two different doctors. Through IVs, antibiotics that didn’t work, fever as high as 104.7, and an allergic reaction to one of the meds, I wasn’t feeling very optimistic. I reached for my thermometer more than I prayed. At one check, my white blood cell count was fine; the next time, it was way low. And through it all, there was still fever.
Two and a half weeks felt like a month. Weakened mentally and physically, all I could do was sleep, and think. Good thoughts took a back seat to recollections about unknown viruses that literally take people out.
To say I was afraid is a joke. I’m not a sickly person, so I was definitely scared. First they said it was flu, then a bacterial infection. In the end, it was said to be viral. I say it was viral with a vengeance.
But God did revive my drooping head. Through the hell, He was slowly lifting my chin with the help of my love Chris, and my sons, my sisters who defied distance and checked on me relentlessly, and close friends who jumped to my aid with groceries, meals, visits and unflinching prayers.
Today, I am well. (That sure feels good to say.)
And I can’t help but read that list and think about what could have happened. Then I think about what did happen. God brought me through to the other side of this personal health scare. But in the many experiences before this one, when it looked like doom or loss, He changed things for me, never took His hand off me, and saved me from harm.
When I’m feeling some kind of negative way – doubtful, irritable, afraid, discontent, pitiful or whatever – I’ll just pull out the list to remind myself that the Lord is my Shepherd. He’s a good Shepherd who is always looking after His sheep. The list is written proof of my reality: that time and time again, He keeps me, cares for me, protects me, guides me and loves me. He revives me when I feel like I could possibly be dying.
When we don’t have answers, or we’re going in circles, or we can’t even stir up much faith, the Shepherd is there, on duty, tending to us and making it alright.
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life. (Psalm 23 MSG)