I have found this phrase “Tell me again, Lord,” captivating. I picked it up in a church book study of “Goliath Must Fall” by Louie Giglio late this last year.
Louie was encouraging readers to take a 40 day challenge of going back to Psalm 23, specifically, morning and night, and through the day as needed. Maybe, even desired.
“Tell me again, Lord, how safe I am.” And I read the Psalm.
Frustrated. “Tell me, Lord, that you’ve got this. The way is wonky, let me trust you”.
“Tell me again, God, how much you love me and have my best interests in mind.” And I read the Psalm out loud.
Psalm 23 in my car. In my workroom. Delivery truck. Psalm 23 on my dresser.
Psalm 23 almost memorized. I still love going back and holding the paper, though. Is this a thing? Do other people have this “paper holding” thing?
Sometimes I laugh. What is a “rod and staff?” I thought it was one item, a shepherd’s stick. A rod is when it’s used for discipline and a staff is used for staffin’ stuff. But, isn’t it the same thing? Is that one ‘rodandstaff,’ like a transformer shepherd guiding tool turned walking stick? Or, is it one utensil being referred to as having multiple abilities? Not like a kitchen utensil. Like, a sheepin’ utensil. Or, are there literally two different objects at play? Silly thoughts sometimes. But, they lead me to research.
“Lord, I just love hearing this. Tell me again.” Different days bring different emphasis on different verses. Work of the Holy Spirit. Head knowledge. Easy days. Good feelings.
And then, of course, there are those days when you feel completely overwhelmed in frustration, sadness, and stuckness and it isn’t until a day or two later- or weeks, or months, or maybe years - God bless you - that the clouds in your head break up. You feel like the progress you thought you had made was for nothing and honestly, as much as you see Psalm 23 pages laying around, the heart is so hard. Walls so big. Love cannot get in. Head knowledge is not heart knowledge. Rough days. Bad feelings.
But you read and you pray with what you can. You know those two things. You can always do those two things. Learn those things. Sometimes, it’s just a moment of breathing in and out. That’s all you feel you can give Him, because you don’t understand, you don’t feel loved, you don’t feel His light shine warm on your face. Sometimes, it’s only tears. That’s all you have to offer. And, the kicker, you don’t even know why. Depression creeping in hard and the pages of Psalm 23 find themselves underneath paperwork, under the mess that is under the mess in the back of the car, and on the bottom shelf of your work station. Hope fades.
My heart, broken. I was driven to my knees, the first time to my knees, and I found my Psalm page and gripped and prayed. I prayed. I cried hard. “Tell me again, Lord. I’m not getting it, help me to get it. Tell me again.”
And then, at just the right time, when you don’t think you can take much more pain, the valley darker and deeper than you’ve ever known, something changes. It is in this unknown territory, where somehow all the tools and lessons and understanding merge as one and you see a piece of Him. You know. You know it HAS to be Him because it’s more than you could do on your own-getting through this mess. You realize that you are stronger than you thought you were and acknowledge that the strength was not your own. You get back up. You are surviving. Slowly, but surely. You. Get. Back. Up.
That is the sweet spot. Standing in His glory. My experiences there have been few, but worth breathing in. They don’t tend to last long. Sometimes, I think He gives us glimpses because He knew, in advance, that we would need a boost to keep us going.
The Lord is my Shepherd. I will lack nothing. "Tell me again, Lord."