KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fl. — March 12, 2012 - Life can be overwhelming at times. Every day we have to make many decisions and face various challenges. Even the Bible is clear that every person will face many trials in this world regardless of their beliefs, race, gender, or socioeconomic background (John 16:33).
Lately I’ve felt a bit burdened down by the “things” life has brought my way, things such as concerns over finances, decisions for my ministry, direction for my children’s education, and keeping up with the day to day responsibilities of life! Last night I knew it was time to lay these burdens down as they have been wearing me out emotionally and physically!
As I knelt by my couch, one by one, I verbally began to lay my anxious thoughts at the feet of Jesus (Phil. 4:6-8). As I confessed my worries, I asked God to replace my fear with His peace. During my prayer time, I felt led to read Psalms 23, a passage I’ve heard and read many times before. In the midst of these verses, I found new refreshment and hope for my weary soul.
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 with 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 unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
(New Living Translation)
Over and over I read this passage, and each time different verses would leap off the page and into my heart as I was reminded that as a child of God I have all I need, that He renews my strength and guides me along right paths. For someone who has been worried that she has enough, who is tired, and who has often wondered if she is heading down the right path, this was good news!
The passage starts with the promise that Jesus is my shepherd. The shepherd is the one who is completely responsible for the care of the sheep. He provides protection from anything that would cause the sheep harm… the weather, wolves, thieves, and even the sheep’s own mistakes. He also provides for their every need. They lack nothing. Furthermore, the sheep do nothing to earn this love and protection!
I felt such peace as I realized that God, like a shepherd, is watching over me, day and night, protecting me from harm, even from my own folly, and providing for my every need. I also felt peace as I grasped the truth that like the sheep, I can do nothing to earn His love and care. It is His joy and pleasure to lavish His love on me.
How relieved I was to remember that He knows everything I am going through right now and He has all I need to overcome. Like the sheep, I can rest emotionally because of His great love for me. And as I rest in Him and His promise to care for me, my strength will be renewed.
I love the fact that like the shepherd, God will lead me along right paths. He will show me the way to go. So often I stand at crossroads of indecisions not knowing which direction to take; God promises to lead me if I will just ask Him to show me the way (Proverbs 3:6). Sometimes it takes great faith to take the first step down a new path, but I can trust that even if I get a bit off course, He will redirect my footsteps and get me back on track. He will reach out with the hook of His staff and bring my safely back into His fold. My part of the journey is to simply listen for and follow His loving voice (John 10).
No matter what today or tomorrow may bring, I don’t have to be afraid. God, like the shepherd, is with me even in the darkest valley, places that seem overwhelming, frightening, hopeless, and uncomfortable. Not only does He promise never to leave me, nor forsake me, but He also promises to go before me and fight my battles. He promises to bring victory into my life no matter how big the battle (II Chronicles 20:14-15).
Thank God I am not alone in this journey of life! I am not alone in my decisions. I am not without hope. Nor are you! God’s unfailing love will continually pursue us, protect and provide for us. Yes, there may be trials and tribulations in this world, but we can take heart and be filled with hope because Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Kristi Overton Johnson is a wife, mother, and the world record holder in water-skiing from 1992-2010. Having retired from professional sports, Kristi now helps others fulfill their God-given destiny.
With a passion to share the life lessons she learned on the water and a desire to encourage the hearts of people through her faith, Kristi founded her non-profit ministry Champion’s Heart.
Champion’s Heart provides life resources, addiction recovery, quarterly magazine publications, leadership training, and sports outreaches. In His Wakes, the water-sports outreach of Champion’s Heart, has helped over 10,000 at-risk youth from across the nation and world have hope, experience victory and discover their purpose through the sport that brought Kristi fame.
Kristi currently resides in Florida with her husband, Tim, and their three children.
To read more by Kristi go to http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/his-wakes
To learn about her mission and work visit Kristi Overton Johnson Ministries.
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