He restores my soul. Psalm 23:3a
I’ve been writing to you about my experiences in Maine so you can imagine yourself here. But, could you imagine yourself in a dense, dark jungle? What if someone convinced you that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip so you scraped together the fare, crossed the ocean and ventured into the strange world of a jungle.
Are you following me so far? Sound interesting? Now imagine that you were hiking through the jungle with a group and you needed to stop and tie your shoe. You handed your pack to a member of the group and when you got up, they were nowhere in sight. You’re suddenly alone and without your gear. How would you feel?
Afraid? Of course, anyone would in that situation. Anxiety? To say the least. What about hopelessness? No idea where to turn or what to do. Who could blame you for sitting on a log (after checking for critters) and crying. I can relate to feeling out of my element, but can you imagine how it feels to be out of hope?
Sadly, many people feel lost in a different kind of jungle every day. Jungles filled with failing health, broken relationships and empty wallets. We don’t hear screeching birds overhead, but we might hear complaints of spouses, neighbors and demanding bosses. Our predators are our creditors. It’s a jungle alright. And for many hikers, hope is in short supply. Unlike other bags of burden, this one is empty. It’s the emptiness that creates the burden.
However, if we can imagine being lost without hope, can’t we do the same with being rescued? What would it take to restore hope? Three things come to my mind:
- A person, but not just any person. You don’t want another confused soul. You need someone who knows the way out.
- A person with some vision. Someone to lift your spirits and say, “There is a better place than this. Don’t give up.”
- And finally you need this person to have a good sense of direction. The person needs to be able to take you from where you are to the right place in order to restore your hope.
David tells us the Lord is our personal guide to restore our soul. Whether we are lost sheep on a craggy ledge or a city slicker in the jungle, everything changes when He appears. All loneliness diminishes when we have fellowship with our Lord. Despair decreases because He gives us vision. And confusion begins to lift away because He gives the direction. The jungle is still there. That hasn’t changed, but you have.
Our loving shepherd knows we struggle in this place, but He has come to guide us and restore hope to our souls. Jesus said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We all need that reminder sometimes. All of us need hope. Maybe not today, but we don’t know what tomorrow brings and you need to know whom to turn to. Or maybe you do need it right now, today. You might feel like you have no hope and want someone to lead you out of darkness. If so, call out for your shepherd. He knows your voice and is listening for you.