The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely, your goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23
Eight years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to experience a four-month sabbatical, which allowed me the time to travel, renew relationships, refresh my spirit and renew my commitment to serving at-risk children, youth and families. I travelled, travelled and travelled. I visited London, Africa, Cayucos, San Diego, Lake Tahoe, Germany and Italy – yes, all in that order. There are so many memories that have been imprinted on my mind and soul that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
One of those memories was traveling from Tuscany over the Alps to Germany where I saw the Passion Play. That day was cloudy with slight drizzles, but as far as one could see, I witnessed rolling green luscious hills with sheep scattered. My mind went to the 23 Psalm and I found myself mediating on these words “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” One of my favorite translations is found in The Message, where it reads like this, “Your beauty and love chases after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of Yahweh for the rest of my life.”
Did you notice the first word? Surely. The shepherd David did not say, “maybe” or “possibly” or even “there’s a good chance”. David penned the word, “Surely”. It really doesn’t mean that we are deserving of “goodness and mercy”, just the fact that God promises it to us in spite of our doubt, rebellion or even plan stubbornness. If those words still don’t grab you, let’s look at the remaining portion of this verse, “pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” God says His love will chase after me all not some, not most, not nearly all – but all the days of my life. Talk about a love passage this is one of the great ones.
I don’t know what lies ahead, whether it be a lack of resources for City Impact, a broken relationship, sickness or death of a loved one. However, I do know that God’s abundant love, goodness and mercy will be there with me and also with you. Thank you so much for continuing to give, pray and support City Impact during my absence; you truly make a difference in the many lives being served daily.
Because of the God Shepherd,
Betty Alvarez Ham
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