Relationships

Feasting in the presence of my enemies {guest post}

Today’s post is a gift from my dear friend, Merea Price. Although Merea is a phenomenally gifted worship leader, creative arts genius, and teacher extraordinaire, the greatest thing I can say about Merea is that she is a faithful, joyful, forgiving friend who has helped me to know Jesus better these past 13 years. It’s an honor for me to share her writing with you here…..

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It was my birthday in March.

I had been going through a really hard time. It was on the heels of one of the most stressful years of my life, but there wasn’t any particular tragedy or event or illness I could point to.

It was heartache, hurt. I had lost my bearings. I felt like I had really let some people down. They had also let me down a bit. Things I thought were a certain way, were not that way. And it was painful. I couldn’t really talk about it. I felt alone, misunderstood. A lot of my weakness was exposed.

I started reading in the Psalms and couldn’t get past the 23rd. You know the one. Maybe one of the most famous passages in the Bible: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

I shall not want.

Whoa. Holy smokes. Let’s just stop right there.

There were so many things I wanted. I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to express my hurt and have people understand and validate me. I wanted to be in a different stage of life than I was in, be a more understanding and gracious person, be the best employee I could be.

I wanted to not be flawed, for people to see me as a wonderful, loving and strong woman. I wanted miraculous peacemaking to happen where everybody would get along, see the best in me, and I would love them, and the world would be flowery with beautiful colors and happy music playing. Blah blah blah.

But.

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.

There is something about that phrase that punches you in the back of the throat and comforts you in the deepest places all at the same time. You see, the soul-satisfying truth is:

Because God is who He is, I have no want that isn’t satisfied in Him. His presence settles my heart and convinces me that I lack no good thing. No good thing. Not one.

I started dwelling on that Psalm like it was nobody’s business. It took me a minute to get past the “I shall not want” thing, but I eventually moved on to the next verse:

He makes me lie down in green pastures

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

Will I feel these feelings of anxiety forever? He makes me lie down and experience still waters. Can restoration actually happen? He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness

For his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I will fear no evil, for You are with me

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me

You prepare a table before me

In the presence of my enemies

You anoint my head with oil

My cup overflows.

That’s the next part I could not pass by easily. It hit me so hard.

You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies.

Even when I feel like people are closing in around me,
You prepare a table for me.
Though my shortcomings and sin can get the better of me,
You prepare a table for me.
When I feel that the world is chaotic and the pressures seem insurmountable,
You prepare a table for me.

Can you picture it? In the midst of enemies. In the midst of people who are against you, casting insults at you, the Lord says that he prepares a table for you.

Like I said, it was my birthday in March.

That morning I walked downstairs to find a table prepared for me in my dining room. It had flowers, greenery, beautiful food and ten place settings. My dearest friends had gathered to celebrate with me. I got a lump in my throat, realizing what the Lord was doing for me in that moment, remembering what he had been teaching me in the 23rd Psalm. I was deeply grateful for his tender loving care.

He prepares a table for me. I shall not want.

At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.   Philippians 4:19

Reflection Questions:

  1. Are there some things in your life that you are struggling with because you want them so badly? What would it look like to lay those at the feet of Jesus and embrace the truth that you lack no good thing in him? The Lord is your shepherd, you shall not want.

  2. Is there a chaotic situation or seemingly insurmountable feeling of anxiety plaguing you right now? Take a moment to meditate on that truth: He prepares a table for you. Even in the presence of enemies. Take a seat and feast eternal!