Psalms 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (KJV).
The beginning of the 23rd Psalm assures us that the Lord looks over us and because of his shepherding we shall not want or lack for anything. Unfortunately, this verse can feel like an empty promise to believers that are struggling with unemployment, debt, lack of enough money to pay the bills, and enough discouragement to see no light at the end of the tunnel. How do we reconcile our faith and verses like this when we are facing impossible situations and desperate losses? We certainly want to believe that God will do exactly what his word tells us but, our circumstances are painfully in denial.
I can say that as a believer I have never faced starvation, but, I can’t honestly say that I have never wanted or lacked for anything. I have faced many situations where I could not take care of my obligations. Was that because of my lack of faith? Was it because of sin in my life? (I love it when people look at me in hard times and say stuff like, “Well brother, is there sin in your life?” I also love the look on their face when I reply, “Sure there is and always has been, but God loved me anyway!”)
To be honest, I think Christians, in America in particular, confuse the American Dream with the Gospel of the Kingdom. Is God obligated to provide everything we have obligated ourselves to having? Compared to the rest of the world and even the scriptures, are we suffering want and lack from an unconcerned shepherd if we can’t maintain the lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to? Does God owe us more house than we can afford or need, several cars, and more toys and stuff than we know what to do with? Is God responsible when we charge everything we desire instead of waiting for him to provide? These aren’t very comfortable questions for prosperity and abundance thinkers, but does it prove we are blessed by God because we went out and bought a lot of stuff?
I think it’s time to rethink! We’re missing out on the rest of the Psalm when we are drowning in our own greed and lust for material things. (I’m guilty!) We fail to appreciate the shepherd, the green pastures, and the still waters when we are racing through life trying to keep up with the Smith’s and the Jones’- whoever they may be. I’m trying to learn to pray for the life God wants to give me because praying for God to help me maintain the life I have given myself is exhausting. I’m beginning to think the secret of having a life without want, means learning to have the life God wants to give me. I’ll learn to be okay with that when I really learn to trust him and accept what he wants for me.