Once long ago (in the year 2004), I lived with my family in the country of Wales. In that fair green country, the public hiking paths go through private farmland. The farmers are not always happy about this. So it is wise to look and see what is in the pasture that your trail goes through, before you open the gate.
On one family hike we encountered Trevor the Goat. He didn’t look too intimidating compared to the bull in the next pasture, so we opened the gate and stepped in. Trevor put his head down and butted my son all the way across the field. We crossed that pasture really fast. Thankfully, my son was not injured.
Here Trevor gloats over his “victory.”
After escaping from Trevor, I took a photo that I used for my painting entitled, “Welsh Farm,” which you can see below. The rolling green hills and contented sheep make me think of Psalm 23. This psalm is entitled The Divine Shepherd, and begins:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
2 he makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
3 he restores my soul
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me…5 Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of my enemies…
There are two things from this psalm that stood out to me today. The first is, there will be enemies, and they will be a lot worse than Trevor. In the Bible, death is considered an enemy. Jesus told us there will be lots of strife in the world. So though the current world pandemic dizzies us with grief and uncertainty, it does not mean we are abandoned by God. In fact, God can even provide a table of love and hope for us, in the midst of it all.
I am Not Alone
The second thing that stood out to me today from Psalm 23, is that I am not alone. In verse 4, the psalmist proclaims “Thou art with me!”
This psalm is fulfilled in the Good Shepherd, Jesus (John 10:1-10). Jesus told his friends, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Luke 24:49; Matthew 28:18-20).
I believe Jesus wants us to know, he is with us, and he loves us. He is the Good Shepherd who suffers with us, and who has power to lift us up, because he is divine.
Below is my drawing of Jesus the Good Shepherd, who delights to carry his sheep.
Even when I’m by myself, I am not alone. I often hold out my hands with my palms open, to receive Jesus’ blessings. Jesus invites us to open our hands and our hearts to him.
Here is a blessing that was written to a persecuted church:
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13: 20, 21)
Here is REALLY AWESOME song by Tauren Wells entitled, “Hills and Valleys.” (I don’t believe all loss is God “taking away.” Remember, there are enemies.)
I invite you to follow, comment and share my blog! For more art meditations or to license artwork, please see my website at: BarbaraBjelland.com